Back to top

The 38 safest cars for 2017

9 December 2016

The USA’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a non-governmental body that tests all the cars on the market in America and determines which are the safest. Not all of these cars are available in South Africa, but for those that are available it’s interesting to note which were granted the Top Safety Pick + and slightly less stringent Top Safety Pick ratings.

Last year the IIHS added new evaluation criteria for headlights, but waited until this year to integrate their results into its overall ratings. Thirty-eight of the vehicles tested earned the Top Safety Pick + rating for 2017, with another 44 earning Top Safety Pick.

Vehicles awarded the 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick +:

Small Cars:
Chevrolet Volt
Hyundai Elantra (sedan only; built after March 2016)
Mazda 3 (4-door sedan | 4-door hatchback)
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius
(built after August 2016)

Midsize cars:
Honda Accord 4-door
Mazda 6
Nissan Altima
Nissan Maxima
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Toyota Camry
Toyota Prius v
Volkswagen Jetta

Midsize luxury cars:
Audi A4
Lexus ES 350
Volvo S60
Volvo V60

Large luxury cars:
Genesis G80
Genesis G90
Lexus RC

Small SUVs:
Mazda CX-3
Mitsubishi Outlander
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Forester
(built after October 2016)
Toyota RAV4

Midsize SUVs:
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa Fe
(built after March 2016)

Midsize luxury SUVs:
Acura MDX
Acura RDX
Audi Q5
Buick Envision
Lexus NX
Lexus RX
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Volvo XC60

Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica (built after August 2016)

Large pickup: Honda Ridgeline

Toyota (including Lexus) walks away with nine TSP+ winners, followed by Honda (and Acura) with five.

Only seven models earned top marks in the new headlight tests – namely the Volvo XC60, Hyundai Elantra and Santa Fe, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Prius V, Chevy Volt andHonda Ridgeline.

Three Japanese manufacturers also upgraded the headlights on some of their models after falling short in last year’s inaugural testing. The Subaru Forester’s headlights, as a result, improved from Poor to Acceptable, the Mitsubishi Outlander from Marginal to Acceptable, and the Toyota Prius from Poor to Acceptable.

In order to win the best overall grade, vehicles have to score Good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, an Advanced or Superior rating for front crash prevention and a Good or Acceptable headlight rating. Those that don’t feature crash prevention systems or score top marks for their headlights can still earn the “regular” Top Safety Pick, and here are this year’s winners:

Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-door
Toyota Yaris iA

Small cars:
Acura ILX
Honda Civic 2-door
Honda Civic 4-door
Lexus CT 200h
Nissan Sentra
Subaru Crosstrek
Subaru WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen
Volkswagen GTI 4-door

Midsize cars:
Chevrolet Malibu
Chrysler 200
Ford Fusion
Honda Accord 2-door
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Volkswagen Passat

Midsize luxury cars:
Audi A3
BMW 2 series
Lincoln MKZ
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4-door

Large car: Toyota Avalon

Large luxury cars:
Acura RLX
Audi A6
Infiniti Q70
(except V8 4-wheel drive models)
Volvo S90

Small SUVs:
Fiat 500X
Hyundai Tucson
Kia Sportage

Midsize SUVs:
GMC Acadia
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Kia Sorento
Nissan Murano
Nissan Pathfinder

Midsize luxury SUVs:
Cadillac XT5
Infiniti QX60
Lincoln MKX
Volvo XC90

Large SUV: Audi Q7

Minivan: Kia Sedona