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Safest Cars of 2022

5 minute read

By Katie Ormsby

Key Takeaways

  • The vehicles on this list earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest safety score.
  • To earn that distinction, cars need to survive crash tests and have effective crash prevention features.
  • Whether you want an SUV, sedan, or minivan, keep reading to find the safest options on the market.

More than 35,000 people died and millions were injured on the roads last year, according to Consumer Reports. So, safety should be one of the most important considerations when car shopping. But what makes some cars safer than others? In short: the safest vehicles protect you in the event of a crash and help prevent crashes in the first place.

With this in mind, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluates vehicles every model year to determine the safest options on the market. They run crash tests, assess headlights, and check out crash-prevention safety features. Here are outstanding cars that earned the highest honor of Top Safety Pick+.

Hyundai Tucson

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson fell just short of earning the coveted Top Safety Pick+ because of its headlights. But Hyundai took note and upgraded the headlight systems for the 2022 model. If you go with the Limited trim, then you’ll get LED projector headlights.

IIHS rates those higher than the LED reflector headlights that come with other trims. However, they consider either acceptable. Other experts have also praised the Tucson for safety. For example, U.S. News & World Report says it comes with a “wide array of active safety features, many of which are standard.”

Source: Hyundai

Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry has long been considered one of the safer vehicles on the market. In fact, it’s made the IIHS Top Safety Picks list every year since 2012. When it comes to the 2022 model, the headlights are where the scores vary between trims.

While the headlights are acceptable across the board, the source especially likes the adaptive headlights package available with the Hybrid XLE trim. Those earn the top mark of “Good.” Plus, Car and Driver says the Camry includes “standard driver assists galore.” And IIHS rates the crash prevention systems as “Superior.”

Source: Toyota

Chevrolet Trailblazer

The Chevrolet Trailblazer also rises to the top of safe vehicles worth considering — especially if you have teen drivers. That’s because teen driver technology is a standard safety feature. As U.S. News & World Report explains, this feature “lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers.”

Additionally, the Trailblazer passed every IIHS crash test with a “Good” rating and every crash avoidance test with at least an “Acceptable” rating. To get into the specifics, the standard vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention system is considered “Superior,” and the vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention system is considered “Advanced.”

Source: Chevrolet

Nissan Murano

If you’re in the market for a midsize SUV, then consider the Nissan Murano. It passed the IIHS crash tests and really distinguished itself during the crash avoidance and mitigation tests. For instance, the headlights and standard crash prevention systems earn the top score across all trims.

However, some drivers may be unimpressed when it comes to other aspects. Car and Driver praises the Murano for its “unique look” and “generous standard tech features,” but they call it “bland” when it comes to driving performance. So, it may not be the most exhilarating vehicle to drive.

Source: Nissan

Honda Accord

Much like the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord has been considered a safe sedan for a long time — it’s made the IIHS Top Safety Picks list every year since 2013. This year, it did well during the crash tests and excelled during most of the crash prevention tests.

Its standard collision mitigation braking system earned a rating of “Superior” when tested in potential vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crashes. The headlights vary in effectiveness between trims, though. While the headlights in most trims earn a “Good” rating, those in the LX and Hybrid trims are “Acceptable.”

Source: Honda

Toyota Sienna

Safety is often a top-of-mind priority for growing families interested in minivans. After all, your family is precious cargo. If you’re looking for a minivan, then consider the Toyota Sienna. Not only does it have style — Car and Driver says it “looks more like an SUV than a minivan — but IIHS says it also shines when it comes to safety.

For instance, it earned the top mark in every crash test and impressed throughout the crash avoidance tests. The Sienna’s standard crash prevention system earned a “Superior” rating during the vehicle-to-vehicle test, and the headlights earned the highest rating across every trim. So drivers can feel confident getting loved ones around.

Source: Toyota

Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 is one of the safest small cars on the market, according to IIHS. Both the sedan and hatchback versions rate well when it comes to crashworthiness — the ability to protect those inside the car during a crash — and crash avoidance. The headlights are the only thing that varies in effectiveness between trims.

While the headlights included with the Premium and Turbo trims earn top marks, the headlights included with the other trims rate as “Acceptable.” So, you may want to keep that in mind. Beyond safety, U.S. News & World Report says the Mazda 3 is a top compact car “thanks in part to its agile driving dynamics … and upscale cabin.”

Source: Mazda

Mitsubishi Outlander

If you need a safe ride for a big family but can’t see yourself driving a minivan or a huge SUV, then consider the Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s one of the only small SUVs with a third row of seats, and it has great safety ratings.

It earns the top rating in crashworthiness and crash avoidance. The headlights are the only thing to keep in mind. Headlights in Outlanders built before July 2021 have a “Poor” rating, while those made after earn the highest rating.

Source: Mitsubishi

Honda Civic

Looking for a safe but affordable small car? In addition to the Mazda 3, the Honda Civic is worth considering. It, too, comes in both sedan and hatchback styles. And it earns the highest safety score for its crashworthiness, headlights, and crash prevention systems.

U.S. News & Reports likes the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic so much that it named both of them the number one compact car of 2022. The source praises the Civic for “its sleek interior, welcoming seating, and lively performance.” So, there’s a lot to like.

Source: Honda

Ford Bronco Sport

Just because a vehicle looks rugged and outdoorsy doesn’t mean it offers excellent protection. The Ford Bronco Sport, however, does live up to that assumption. It’s another vehicle that earned top marks during crash tests and crash avoidance assessments.

According to Car and Driver, the Bronco Sport also lives up to the hype as an off-road vehicle. In order to maximize its off-road capabilities, the source suggests getting the top-tier Badlands trim.

Source: Ford

Katie Ormsby

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