A few decades ago, cars were not as hot on safety as they are now. Safety standards were not as rigorous, and safety features we take for granted today were not widely available. Crash testing and safety ratings were not as standard or comprehensive, so it was difficult for consumers to know how safe a particular car was. Things have changed recently, and car safety regulations are more stringent as governments seek to protect consumers from injuries and fatalities caused by car accidents.
Updated April 2023: While roads remain dangerous, road safety has gradually improved over the years. The rapid technological advancement and safety features offer modern vehicles impressive safety ratings. This updated list highlights ten of the safest cars with impressive crash test ratings.
The United States passed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, which created the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop and implement safety standards for features like seat belts, airbags, and crash testing. Today, some of the safest cars on the planet cruise US roads. But each manufacturer creates their vehicles uniquely. Some fare better than others, and here are the safest cars based on crash test results from leading safety agencies, including the NHTSA and the Institute of Insurance and Highway Safety (IIHS).
10 Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is a perennial bestseller, and in the most recent NHTSA crash tests, the 2023 Toyota Camry received an overall safety rating of 5 out of 5 stars. And it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with top crash scores across the board.
It also features an impressive array of superior crash avoidance and mitigation systems like blind spot monitoring, forward automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and more. The IIHS revealed the Camry Hybrid XLE equipped with the available adaptive units as the safest trim.
The Camry offers an impressive engine lineup, including a standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, a punchier 3.5-liter V6 engine, and a hybridized 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. While the 4-cylinder engines offer impressive economy, the V6 offers a sportier experience with quicker acceleration and more aggressive starts.
9 Volvo S60
Volvo is synonymous with prioritizing safety in its cars and has a reputation for producing some of the safest vehicles on the road. They were the first automakers to adopt standard features like three-point seat belts long before safety was cool. In recent years, they’ve introduced new technologies, and their cars, like the Volvo S60, consistently receive high ratings in crash tests.
The Volvo S60 and S60 Recharge scored Good and Superior ratings in all IIHS crash tests, making it one of the safest cars you can buy. The S60 lineup also offers superb build quality and an impressive interior with upscale materials. Volvo also pays keen attention to detail with its forward-thinking cabin design. Among the deluxe features of the S60 includes ambient interior lighting, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, a head-up display, and more.
8 Tesla Model 3
Tesla’s midsize luxury four-door sedan is a very safe car that received a Top Safety Pick+ after extensive testing by the IIHS. It scored a ‘good’ rating in nearly every category. Tesla introduced the Model 3 in 2017, and it has received praise for posting the highest score ever awarded by IIHS for roof protection.
The Model 3 is an EV with no engine, allowing engineers to build a structure that deflects energy away from passengers better than conventional cars. Furthermore, the Model 3 boasts superior ratings for front crash prevention on vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian. In addition, the Tesla Model 3 boasts an interior unlike any other car. The cabin is shockingly simple, with almost everything working through the touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. The Model 3 has a flat floor, making the cabin feel airy and spacious.
7 Volvo XC90
The new Volvo XC90 performs well in every crash test, earning a perfect five-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. Volvo offers the luxurious three-row crossover with sufficient turbocharged power, a posh interior, and six- and seven-seat configurations.
Whichever the case, occupants can rest assured of top safety, seeing the XC90 received a good rating from NHTSA across all crash worthiness tests. Furthermore, every XC90 comes standard with advanced active crash prevention features like automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, and an adaptive LED headlight. Besides the stellar safety ratings, the XC90 offers many luxury appointments, including a high-quality interior with an attractive design. The interior boasts quality materials and impressive tech.
6 Genesis G90
The Genesis G90 is a luxury sedan produced by Hyundai’s luxury division and has received positive reviews for its performance, comfort, and features. It accelerates quickly and delivers a serene ride. Regarding safety, the Genesis G90 has received high ratings in crash tests conducted by NHTSA and IIHS.
The 2023 model is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designee. Every safety feature comes standard, and some are unique to the G90, like highway driving assist and navigation-linked adaptive cruise control. All versions of the G90 feature many driver assistance technologies as standard, including an adaptive cruise control system with a lane-centering feature and automatic high beams. Additional standard safety features include automated emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning.
5 Mazda 3
Mazda redesigned the Mazda 3 in 2019, and it poses as a fun-to-drive car with excellent handling and energetic acceleration. Customers get performance, efficiency, value, and safety in an affordable package.
The Mazda 3 is available in sedan or hatchback forms, and both offer good crash worthiness and superior crash avoidance and mitigation based on crash test results by the IIHS. The 2023 model received upgrades to the front and rear side airbags to improve occupant protection in side crashes.
Every Mazda 3 model boasts multiple standard driver assistance technologies, including automatic high beam headlights, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology.
4 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V has remained a popular compact SUV over the years as one of the best all-around performers on the market. It is an excellent choice for drivers seeking a practical, comfortable, spacious and reliable car with low costs of repairs and good resale value.
Honda is also keen on safety, and the latest CR-V model won the 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award with good ratings on crash tests and Superior ratings on crash avoidance. The CR-V has a boatload of standard driver assistance technologies, including traffic sign recognition, back seat reminder, driver attention monitor, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking and forward collision warning.
3 Lexus UX
The 2023 Lexus UX is a luxury subcompact SUV offering a comfortable ride with a high-quality interior. The NHTSA hasn’t tested the 2023 model, but the 2022 model received an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars.
Furthermore, the IIHS named the Lexus UX a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with a rating of Good in all crash tests, a rating of Superior for crash prevention, and a rating of Good for its headlights. As standard, the UX lineup features plenty of driver assistance technology, including lane keeping assist, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and lane departure warning.
2 Tesla Model Y
Tesla adopts an iterative process to produce the safest cars on the road. The Model Y is proof of success as it received the highest Overall score among all vehicles tested using the newest and most stringent test protocol by Euro NCAP.
The Model Y received an incredible score of 97% in the Adult Occupation Protection category after a series of frontal, side, and rear whiplash tests. The Model Y also won an IIHS 2023 Top Safety Pick+ award. Tesla is synonymous with its advanced semi-autonomous driving system, and this is a standard feature for the Model Y. The Model Y also features several advanced features, including an optional summon feature and a self-parking feature. As standard, the Model Y gets lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature.
1 Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is the Legacy’s tougher-looking wagon version, and both pose among the safest cars in a crash. Both vehicles received Good and Superior ratings in all IIHS crash worthiness, collision avoidance, and mitigation tests.
The Subaru Outback earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation alongside its sibling, and both boast many popular safety features. And the Legacy gets a plus with its low starting price, making it one of the most affordable and safest sedans you can buy. All Outback models feature the brand's EyeSight suite of driver assistance technologies, including adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, automated emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert.