While road safety has generally improved over the decades, statistically, the roads remain a dangerous place. This is especially true when compared to other modes of transportation, such as air travel. Many of us simply jump into our cars without a second thought, hoping the car will protect us.
Updated April 2023: Buying a new vehicle requires making many decisions, including options, style, and color. However, safety is another crucial aspect when buying a vehicle. For the 2023 model year, here is an updated list of 15 of the safest cars money can buy.
Automotive manufacturers spend millions on developing new and innovative safety technologies which help keep occupants safe not only in the event of an accident but afterward as well. Modern cars feature lots of airbags that cocoon the passengers, no matter the angle of impact, to aid in minimizing the damage. These vehicles also have detection systems and automatic acceleration and braking to steer out of dangerous situations. Audi's safety systems even lean the car into the oncoming accident to hit on the strongest parts of the car, minimizing cabin deformation.
Thankfully, technological innovation means the cars of today generally offer the best protection yet – helping to make the automotive industry a better and safer place. Here are 15 models that are among the safest and most reliable cars in production today, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
15 2023 Lexus NX
Those in the market for a luxury midsize SUV should certainly consider the excellent Lexus NX. The range starts at $39,500, and Lexus has invested heavily in the integrated technology within this model. The infotainment system revolves around a 9.8-inch touchscreen, offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 14-inch touchscreen is also available. Lexus offers Amazon's Alexa as standard in the NX. The virtual assistant can complete many useful tasks.
The NX comes fitted with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, as part of this, resulting in a range of integrated safety-enhancing features. Pre-collision with pedestrian detection, Lane Tracing Assist, and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, among other systems, mean this is one of the safest SUVs around. The IIHS has awarded the car a Top Safety Pick+ classification, providing further reassurance.
14 2023 Volkswagen ID.4
The ID.4 is the second model released in Volkswagen's all-electric range. The car can cater to a family, with significantly more cabin and luggage space than the compact ID.3.
Following evaluation by IIHS, the car received a Top Safety Pick + for 2023 award and a 5-Star NHTSA overall safety rating. These ratings resulted due to the variety of passive and active safety systems found in the car.
13 2023 Subaru Solterra
The Subaru Solterra is the rebadged version of the Toyota bZ4X and features most of the same parts and options. Interestingly, only the Solterra is available for purchase in Japan, with the bZ4X only going to export markets.
The Solterra features front- and all-wheel-drive powertrains, sporting either 201 or 215 hp. The 72.8 kWh battery is good for around 220 to 250 miles of range – depending on the model – and comes with all the comforts and reliability expected of a Toyota product. The Solterra is among the Top Safety picks on the IIHS list, scoring good and superior ratings in all the categories.
12 2023 Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is one of the most ruggedly styled lifted wagons on the market. The car combines an all-wheel-drive system with a spacious interior and a 75.7 cubic foot luggage capacity. The Outback features either a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-4 or a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter of the same configuration, producing between 185 and 250 hp – depending on the trim. The power goes to all four wheels via an 8-speed 'simulated' CVT transmission.
The Outback is another car on this list to achieve the desirable IIHS Top Safety Pick + 2023. The 2020 redesign improved safety over the outgoing model, and the car excels when it comes to protecting child occupants, making it a great choice for families.
11 2023 Acura Integra
The Acura Integra is new for the 2022-2023 model year and uses a revived nameplate. Like the older models, the Integra stems from its Honda equivalent – in this case, the Civic Si. Apart from the changed interior and exterior, the mechanicals of the car are exactly the same, meaning the same 200 hp 1.5-liter turbo mated to either a CVT or a 6-speed manual transmission.
The Integra shares the Civic's safety rating, scoring Good and Superior ratings in most of the categories. It is also the Top Safety Pick + according to the IIHS – sitting on its own in the 'small car' segment. The Integra Type S is on its way but will likely not make it to this prestigious list due to the added performance.
10 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge
Volvo is among the safest car manufacturer out there as the company has a history of obsessive safety – not as much as SAAB, though. After all, Volvo was the automaker that invented the three-point seatbelt and then made it patent-free for all to use.
The biggest vehicle in the line-up is the XC90. It is one of the most successful models in the company's history, and the current model never fails to impress. The XC90 achieves a Good and Superior score in most of the categories, with an Acceptable falling behind the Vehicle-to-Pedestrian safety – one area Volvo sometimes struggles a bit. Overall, the XC90 is a fantastically safe SUV worthy of the Top Safety Pick.
9 2023 Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is the go-to family sedan for those who don't quite want an SUV parked in their driveway. The Camry is the standard for midsize sedan safety and the 2023 model is better than ever – featuring subtle styling improvements and updated interiors and technology.
The Camry uses either a hybridized 4-cylinder or naturally aspirated V6 for propulsion, powering either the front or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic or a CVT. The model gets excellent scores all-round and falls into the Top Safety Pick + of the mid-size car category.
8 2023 Rivian R1T
It may be no surprise that the Rivian R1T is on this list, but what is impressive is that it is the company's first outing that does so well. The R1T is currently doing better than the Ford F-150 Lightning in both exclusivity and towing – all while exhibiting more power and features.
The R1T features quad electric motors which produce over 800 hp combined, making the model one quick truck. The IIHS found that the R1T has excellent safety and crash prevention systems, earning it a green light across the board – exhibiting brilliant cabin and passenger protection. The R1T may be a bit on the expensive side for a pickup, but it is well worth the money.
7 2023 Genesis G90
The large and luxurious Genesis G90 sedan is a seriously imposing vehicle. Following a redesign, Genesis has significantly upped its game, and the G90 is a credible alternative to other luxo-barges. Far from a cheap option, the G90 starts at around $75,000, and for this, buyers get a lot for their money. The G90 features a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 under the hood, sending either 375 or 409 hp to the rear wheels only or all four in the LWB trim.
When it comes to safety, the car excels, and every possible safety feature available comes as standard. Some of these highly advanced features include 'Highway Driving Assist 2', which is essentially adaptive cruise control, but developed to a level that makes the system functional even on road curves. Additionally, "Navigation-Based Smart Cruise Control" will automatically adjust the set speed if the speed limit changes and on the aforementioned curved sections.
6 2023 Lexus ES
The Lexus ES is a mid-size luxury sedan that’s as safe as it is comfortable. The ES is among the few mid-size luxury sedans that managed to receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick award. With the crashworthiness test, the ES scored a good rating, except for the side updated test, where it scored an average.
The 2023 Lexus ES gets Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 as standard. This system includes multiple driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assistance, lane departure warning, and pedestrian and cyclist detection.
5 2023 Honda HR-V
Despite getting a complete makeover for the 2023 model year, the HR-V stands out as one of the safest small SUVs, with a Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS. The HR-V has impressive scores in the crashworthiness test but gets an average score for its headlights and latch ease of use.
In addition, the HR-V gets Honda’s suite of driver assistance technologies, including a lane-keeping feature, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automated emergency braking. The HR-V also gets a reasonable warranty package of three years of 36,000 miles.
4 2023 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is all-new for the 2023 model year, adopting Honda's new design language – falling in behind the new Accord. As per usual, the CR-V is an excellent large crossover/small SUV which continues the traditional Honda trend of great build quality and mechanical reliability.
The new CR-V features either a 1.5- or 2.0-liter inline-4 – the former of which features a turbocharger – mated to either a CVT or eCVT in the case of the hybrid trim. The CR-V scored brilliantly on the safety and crash prevention tests, achieving either a Good or Superior rating – with only the side-impact test getting an Acceptable score due to thinner doors. Overall, the CR-V is a great car, worthy of the Top Safety list.
3 2023 Tesla Model Y
Currently, according to data from Statista, the crossover SUV is the best-selling automotive segment in America, and for obvious reasons. Built on a car’s platform, crossovers offer a car-like, nimble driving experience that is hard to resist. If electric vehicles are your thing, then a top safety rating is another reason you should opt for a Tesla Model Y.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ran a safety test on a 2023 Tesla Model Y midsize luxury 4-door SUV, and it earned a Top Safety Pick from the organization. The model earned perfect top scores in crashworthiness and crash avoidance & mitigation tests while it also earned an acceptable rating for seat belts and child restraints measures. In all, the 2023 Tesla Model Y is an extremely safe car to commute in.
2 2023 Hyundai Palisade
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade is a lush mid-size SUV with a high-class cabin, space for the whole family, and a smooth ride. It’s the brand’s largest SUV, thus offering a reasonably punchy engine and multiple technology and connectivity features.
The Palisade has a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS with a good overall crashworthiness result, except for a poor score in the updated moderate overlap front test. Hyundai offers plenty of standard equipment, with the higher trim levels getting nearly every advanced safety system.
1 2023 Infiniti QX60
Infiniti is among the few brands that are at the forefront of the Japanese luxury game. The QX60 is one of the brand’s SUV offerings, with a posh cabin and a striking design. While it's mostly a rebodied Nissan Pathfinder, the QX60 offers similar niceties as its key rivals like the Lincoln Aviator, BMW X5, and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
Unlike most of its rivals, the QX60 also receives a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS with a good crashworthiness score. The QX60 offers a host of driver assistance features as standard, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, and forward collision warning with automated emergency braking.