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Best and worst vehicles in overall safety

Consumer Reports News: March 16, 2010 11:10 AM

Vehicle safety is a primary concern for new-car buyers, according to the Consumer Reports 2010 Car Brand Perception Survey. And the good news is that more models than ever are scoring high in our safety Ratings. We have compiled a detailed look at the best and worst models for vehicle safety, combining our own dynamic tests and crash-test evaluations by the government and insurance industry.

The safety chart below details the best vehicles for overall safety in a number of popular categories. We also list a few of the worst vehicles for safety, as well.

Understanding the safety ratings
When comparing safety scores, it’s important to evaluate vehicles in the same weight, most vehicles in a vehicle class have a similar weight. Even if a small car has top crash-test Ratings, for instance, it will still take the brunt of the impact if hit by a larger sedan or SUV, or even in a single vehicle crash, say against a tree.

The chart includes crash and rollover test scores from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as Consumer Reports dry and wet braking performance and emergency handling.

The IIHS tests for offset frontal, side-impact, and rear-crash evaluations and grades the results as Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. (Select from more than 300 IIHS crash test videos.) The NHTSA’s tests measure full-frontal and side-impact performance. NHTSA rollover rating denotes the risk of a rollover in a single-vehicle crash.

A dash (-) in the chart indicate no rating is available.

car-safety
Small cars
Crash & rollover tests
CR Safety assessment
Model name
IIHS offset frontal
IIHS side w/wo side airbags
IIHS rear
NHTSA front driver/passenger
NHTSA side driver/rear pass.
NHTSA rollover 2WD/4WD
Braking
Emergency Handling
Kia Soul Good Good Good / / /-
Mazda3 Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob /-
Subaru Impreza/Outback Sport Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/ blob
Toyota Prius Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob /-
Volkswagen Golf Good Good Good blob/ blob blob/blob /-
Volvo C30 Good Good Good - - -
Family/upscale sedans
Crash & rollover tests
CR Safety assessment
Model name
IIHS offset frontal
IIHS side w/wo side airbags
IIHS rear
NHTSA front driver/passenger
NHTSA side driver/rear pass.
NHTSA rollover 2WD/4WD
Braking
Emergency Handling
Acura TL Good Good Good / blob/blob blob/blob blob

Acura TSX Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/-
Audi A3 Good Good Good - - -
Audi A4 Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
BMW 3 Series Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob /blob
Chevrolet Malibu Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob /-
Honda Accord Good Good Good blob/blob blob/ blob/-
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Good Good Good - - blob/blob blob
Subaru Legacy Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob
Volkswagen CC Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob /blob
Volkswagen Passat Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob /-
Large & luxury sedans
Crash & rollover tests
CR Safety assessment
Model name
IIHS offset frontal
IIHS side w/wo side airbags
IIHS rear
NHTSA front driver/passenger
NHTSA side driver/rear pass.
NHTSA rollover 2WD/4WD
Braking
Emergency Handling
Acura RL Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob blob
blob
Audi A6 Good Good Good - - - blob blob
Cadillac CTS Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/ blob blob blob
Hyundai Genesis Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/- blob blob
Small SUVs
Crash & rollover tests
CR Safety assessment
Model name
IIHS offset frontal
IIHS side w/wo side airbags
IIHS rear
NHTSA front driver/passenger
NHTSA side driver/rear pass.
NHTSA rollover 2WD/4WD
Braking
Emergency Handling
Honda CR-V Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/ blob blob
blob
Mitsubishi Outlander Good Good - blob/blob blob/blob blob/ blob blob
Nissan Rogue Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Subaru Forester Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob blob
Volkswagen Tiguan Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/ blob blob blob
Midsized SUVs
Crash & rollover tests
CR Safety assessment
Model name
IIHS offset frontal
IIHS side w/wo side airbags
IIHS rear
NHTSA front driver/passenger
NHTSA side driver/rear pass.
NHTSA rollover 2WD/4WD
Braking
Emergency Handling
Acura MDX Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob blob

Acura RDX Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob blob blob
Audi Q5 Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob blob blob
BMW X3 Good Good Good - - - blob blob
BMW X5 Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob -/blob blob blob
Buick Enclave Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob
Chevrolet Equinox Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob
GMC Terrain Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob
Hyundai Santa Fe Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Infiniti EX Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Lexus RX Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Mercedes-Benz M-Class Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Toyota Venza Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Volvo XC60 Good Good Good - - - blob blob
Volvo XC90 Good Good Good blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob blob blob
Worst safety scores
Crash & rollover tests
CR Safety assessment
Model name
IIHS offset frontal
IIHS side w/wo side airbags
IIHS rear
NHTSA front driver/passenger
NHTSA side driver/rear pass.
NHTSA rollover 2WD/4WD
Braking
Emergency Handling
Chevrolet Aveo sedan Acceptable Marginal - blob/blob blob/ blob/- blob

Chevrolet Colorado Acceptable Marginal - blob/blob /blob blob/blob blob
GMC Canyon Acceptable - Marginal blob/blob /blob blob/blob blob
Hyundai Accent Acceptable Poor Poor blob/blob blob/blob blob/- blob
Kia Rio Acceptable Poor Poor blob/blob blob/blob blob/- blob blob
Scion tC Acceptable Acceptable Marginal blob/blob blob/blob blob/- blob
Dodge Dakota Good -/Marginal Acceptable blob/blob blob/blob blob/blob

Beyond vehicle structure, there is often key safety equipment that helps the best models to stand out from their peers: electronic stability control (ESC) and curtain air bags. ESC helps to prevent a vehicle from skidding or sliding in a turn. Curtain air bags protect occupants’ heads in a side crash and help prevent ejection or partial ejection in a rollover.

For more details on the models, including safety equipment, click through to our model overview pages to see Ratings, reliability, fuel economy and more (available to online subscribers).

For more on safety features and resources, see our car safety section.


   

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