If you’re looking for a new vehicle for your family, safety is a top priority. While many of us grew up stretching out our seatbelts or sitting on laps, vehicles today come with a variety of safety and convenience features that can actually be overwhelming to compare! The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization, is a reliable place to start your search to find the safest cars on the market today.
For its yearly Top Safety Pick list, the IIHS evaluates how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash as well as the technology that can prevent a crash or lessen its severity. To gather the best of the best in safest cars on the market, IIHS publishes the Top Safety Pick+ list of vehicles that go above and beyond the standards. The list below includes family-friendly options that have a standard front crash prevention system with automatic braking capabilities as well as the elite few available with good-rated headlights.
The Toyota RAV4 proves that good things can come in small packages! It’s the only vehicle in the small SUV category that, according to the IIHS, is both available with good-rated headlights and tested as superior in front crash prevention. Aside from its impressive safety features, the compact crossover has increased cargo room, a four-wheel drive option, all with the maneuverability of a compact car. Privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows comes standard, and some models are available with front and rear parking sonar. Combined with a typical miles per gallon (MPG) of 23 city / 30 highway, the RAV4 provides protection and good gas mileage for a smaller family.
Hyundai Santa Fe
If your family needs another row of seating, the Hyundai Santa Fe also made the IIHS list with good-rated headlights and a superior front crash prevention score. Advanced airbags and rearview camera come standard, with additional options including rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist. The midsize SUV can seat seven comfortably and has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds for when it’s time to hit the lake or the campsite! The 18 city / 25 highway average MPG will help you save money on gas that you can put toward your next family adventure.
Minivans meet with a fair share of prejudice, but the Chrysler Pacifica model built after August 2016 has the bragging right of being the only minivan on the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list! The Pacifica earns this spot with superior front crash prevention and is available with features like parking assistance and rear park assist with cross path detection. It also has the benefits of seating for eight and features like in-floor storage bins, but even with all that space you’ll still see MPG around 19 city / 28 highway. Who says minivans can’t be cool?
If a midsize car is more your speed or life stage, the Subaru Legacy, like the RAV4, is available with good-rated headlights and ranked as superior in front crash prevention. In addition to an impressive 25 city/ 34 highway MPG, the Legacy is available with safety features like driver assist technology, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear-vision camera and reverse automatic braking. That’s a lot of protection to fit into a midsize car!
Toyota Prius v
Also available with good-rated headlights is the Toyota Prius v, a hybrid with an average MPG of 43 city / 39 highway. Since you’ll be able to stay on the road longer between stops at the gas station, you’ll have more time to appreciate the vehicle proximity notification feature and driver and front passenger Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) seats that come standard. The flexible seating and storage options also make it easy to fit in plenty of snacks along with the kids for a long drive!
No matter what your preference is for features—cargo space/versatility, interior size, sliding doors or other amenities, these cars combine safety, value, comfort and drivability. To view the full IIHS list, visit www.iihs.org.
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