Consumers who place a high priority on safety when buying a new car have a lot of choices among the latest new models. New cars today are the safest they have ever been with features such as electronic stability control and new warning systems that help drivers avoid a crash. Last fall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) instituted a more stringent five-star safety ratings system for the 2011 model year to assess crash worthiness of new vehicles. Now to help consumers choose the safest car available, they have put out a brochure outlining all the vehicles rated this year and information on the availability of the latest safety features and systems.
NHTSA’s crash program for the 2011 model year includes a more comprehensive evaluation in three areas—front- and side-crash protection, and rollover resistance. In addition, each model receives an overall vehicle score, which combines the results of the three tests and compares them to the injury risk in other vehicles. The new brochure explains the tests and how the safety features work as well as listing which vehicles have them as standard or optional equipment.
Besides NHTSA, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also evaluates crash worthiness (using different methods—see crash test 101 for an explanation) and so far has 92 vehicles earning the Top Safety Pick Award for 2011 even with stronger requirements.
Safety should be an important consideration for all new car buyers, but choosing one that is best in its class, fits your needs, is reliable and safe has been the driving force behind everything we do at Consumer Reports. For more information, check out Consumer Reports model overviews to see safety rating from NHTSA and IIHS along with test results, reliability, fuel economy and more.
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