Top 10 Safest Cars
A veritable fleet of safe vehicles hit the road for 2012, many of which prove safety can be classy, snazzy and family friendly. The top 10 safest cars on the following list were ranked based on their scores from the newly updated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s safety tests. Vehicles can earn a top score of five out of five for overall safety and for frontal crash, side crash and rollover. Meet the leaders of the pack!
Five Stars across the Board
There is such a thing as a perfect score when it comes to the NHTSA tests- four 2012 vehicles received one.
#1 – 2012 Chevrolet Camaro
With the headline, “Safety just got sexier,” Chevrolet’s website capitalizes on its 2012 Camaro’s perfect safety rating. The fast and flashy automobile comes complete with a more powerful V6 engine than past models that also gets good fuel economy, according to Edmunds.com.
The two door, rear wheel drive Camaro comes in three models. All three come with a 3.6 liter V6 engine, manual transmission, Bluetooth and satellite radio, and MP3 player. Safety features that helped the Camaro top the list of safest cars include side airbags and curtain airbags, OnStar, antilock disc brakes, traction control and electronic stability control. Edmunds notes the car has a very small backseat, a puny trunk opening and substandard visibility.
#2 – 2012 Honda Accord V6
The 2012 Honda Accord was rewarded with five safety stars across the board from the NHTSA. Drivers may also be rewarded with several pros from this four door family sedan. Ample room is a major selling point for the 2012 Accord, Edmunds notes, with generous space for passengers. The Accord version that racked up stars for safety was the V6, four door four wheel drive variety, which comes in two models.
Both models enjoy a 3.5 liter V6 engine, automatic transmission, and iPod input. Both also get up to 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Safety features that helped nab top ratings include side airbags and curtain airbags, traction control, electronic stability control, antilock disc brakes and front head restraints. Edmunds gives the Accord demerits for having an engine that lacks the same spunk found in other V6s.
#3 – 2012 Kia Optima
The 2012 Kia Optima was in high gear in the safety department, also receiving five stars in each category from the NHTSA. The hybrid and non-hybrid versions both ranked the same in safety. This midsize, four door four wheel drive sedan also gets five stars from Edmunds for its style and driving pleasure.
The Kia Optima’s style gets a boost from a cushy interior that feels luxurious which is combined with solid handling and balance. Loads of features add even more pleasure to the mix. The Optima averages 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg for highway driving.
Safety features that helped boosted the Kia Optima to the top of the list include side airbags, side curtain airbags, traction control and electronic stability control. Antilock disc brakes and a hill start assist add another layer of safety to the vehicle. One more optional safety feature is a rearview camera. The Kia Optima was kicked down a notch by Edmunds for its cramped headroom and mediocre fuel economy.
#4 – 2012 Volvo S60
Snazzy and sleek, the 2012 Volvo S60 received high marks for safety in both four wheel drive and all wheel drive versions. Edmunds applauds the sedan for being comfortable, powerful and strong when it comes to driving, riding and handling. The fuel economy is not bad either, with 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg for highway driving.
Safety features that sped the Volvo S60 to the top of the list include curtain airbags and side airbags, antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, a forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Edmunds faults Volvo for poor technology on some of the controls and a tiny back seat.
Five Stars in All Categories Except Rollover
A number of 2012 vehicles received five stars from NHTSA for overall safety, as well as five out of five in the front crash and side crash categories. The only perfect score they did not receive was for rollover safety, for which they still received an impressive four out of five.
#5 – 2012 Chevrolet Cruze
Compact and family friendly, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is also about family safety, ranking nearly perfect on the NHTSA safety tests. The four door four wheel drive vehicle is impressive with fuel economy, with 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Edmunds says the Cruze boasts an upscale design on the inside and a roomy trunk in the rear.
Safety features that help the Cruze cruise safely include antilock brakes and electronic stability control. The vehicle comes with airbags on the sides, front and front knee area. Cons noted by Edmunds include a sluggish response on the six speed automatic, cramped front seats and rear seats that are uncomfortably low.
#6 – 2012 Cadillac CTS
The two versions of the 2012 Cadillac CTS were nearly perfect in terms of safety. Both the sedan and station wagon ranked high in the safety department. Key features include traction control, electronic stability control, front and side curtain airbags, OnStar, antilock disc brakes and head restraints for front seat passengers.
The CTS station wagon slightly outdoes the sedan in fuel economy, with 18 mpg in the city to the sedan’s 16 mpg and 27 mpg on the highway to the sedan’s 26 mpg. While Edmunds praises the 2012 Cadillac CTS for its roominess and luxury feel, rear visibility is not that great and the sport suspension and seats are both a bit too firm for some tastes.
#7 – 2012 Buick Lacrosse
Quiet and quite fuel efficient, the 2012 Buick Lacrosse garnered high scores for safety for its sedan and eAssist versions. Both the four wheel drive and all wheel drive versions of the vehicles made the cut, with safety features that include front and side curtain airbags, OnStar, antilock disc brakes, traction and electronic stability control. Optional safety features include a blind spot alert system and rear airbags on the sides.
The eAssist is what Edmunds calls a “mild” hybrid; the sedan gets 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg for highway driving. Edmunds particularly enjoyed the elegant interior and smooth, comfy ride. It also applauded the performance and driving dynamics. Less favorable were the lack of ample luggage space and control panel that was too crowded and cluttered.
Five Stars in All Categories Except Frontal Crash
Here are three more vehicles that made the safety cut with near perfect scores. Frontal crash test results earned them a four out of five, but still took them down a notch from receiving five stars across the board.
#8 – 2012 Dodge Charger
Large and stable, the 2012 Dodge Charger sedan with rear wheel drive is not for everyone. Edmunds says the vehicle may be a bit too aggressive for some personalities and a bit too cramped when it comes to headroom in the back. Otherwise the Charger charges to the front of the pack with superior performance and excellent performance and handling. Its fuel economy weighs in at 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg for highway driving.
Safety features that helped the Dodge Charger include airbags on the side, front and driver’s knee areas, front head restraints, antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, and a forward collision warning. Spruce up the safety features even further with an optional rearview camera and additional warning systems.
#9 – 2012 Hyundai Sonata
Economic pricing and impressive fuel economy keep the 2012 Hyundai Sonata an attractive choice on the road, Edmunds notes. The four door four wheel drive vehicle gets even more impressive when you mix in the high safety scores and the full redesign for 2012. Comfort, style and a generous warranty are part of the deal, as is 24 mpg for city driving and 35 mpg on the highway.
Safety features that helped put the 2012 Hyundai Sonata on the list include airbags on the front and side, electronic stability control, antilock brakes, head restraints in the front and traction control. The Sonata comes with the BlueLink emergency system.
#10 – 2012 BMW 5 Series
The 2012 BMW 528 and related kin in the series, which include the BMW 535 and BMW 550, all scored nearly perfect in the updated safety tests. Safety features that put the BMW 5 series on the list include standard airbags, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, traction control and electronic stability control.
Edmunds also was impressed with handling and engine capabilities, although it noted the throttle tended to lag. It also chided the 2012 BMW 5 series for being a bit less snazzy than earlier versions of the series.