What do you consider when buying a new or new-to-you car? Is it style, comfort, or enough room to run the kids to school or soccer practice with their friends? What about color and features? Maybe it’s pickup, handling, and how it feels when jumping on LBJ when there’s no one there? Whatever it is that moves you toward a particular vehicle, have you considered the safety of the vehicle you’re considering and its crash rating?
Most people typically don’t think about being in an accident. Based on the conversations I have with clients and prospects, I believe most people think it won’t happen to them. However, if you live in the Dallas area you have the likelihood of being in an accident about once every 7 years. Including a car’s crash rating along with your other criteria only makes good sense for Dallas drivers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released their list of Top + and Top Safety picks for 2014. Thirty nine vehicles earned top safety honors from IIHS. In order to be picked, the vehicles had to earn at least a “good” in the following four safety tests:
- Moderate front overlap
- Side impact
- Roof strength
- Head restraint
In addition, the vehicle had to earn an “acceptable” rating in the small front overlap crash test. The IIHS began testing vehicles with this crash test in 2012 to see how vehicles would perform in an accident similar to hitting a tree, telephone pole, or if clipping a car.
These combine to test how well a car protects its occupants in a crash with varying degrees of frontal impact, side impact (when it gets “T’d”), and rear ended. In order to qualify for a Top +, the vehicle also had to score an acceptable rating in the small front overlap test and be equipped with a front crash avoidance system that would signal the driver of an impending front crash. If the driver didn’t respond to the warning, it automatically applies the brakes to avoid hitting a stopped or slower moving vehicle.
The vehicles that earned Top + honors include:
|Honda Civic 4-door||Mazda 3 built after 10/13||Toyota Prius built after 11/13|
|Ford Fusion||Honda Accord 2-door||Honda Accord 4-door|
|Mazda 6||Subaru Legacy||Subaru Outback|
|Infiniti Q50||Lincoln MKZ||Volvo S60|
|Acura RLX||Volvo S80||Mazda CX-5 built after 10/13|
|Mitsubishi Outlander||Subaru Forester||Toyota Highlander|
|Mercedes Benz M Class built after 8/13||Volvo XC60||Honda Odyssey|
In order to be honored with a Top + rating, if the crash avoidance system is optional, it would need to have the included.
The vehicles that earned Top Safety Pick rating include:
|Chevrolet Spark||Dodge Dart||Ford Focus|
|Honda Civic 2-door||Hyundai Elantra||Scion tC|
|Subaru Impreza||Subaru XV Crosstrek||Chrysler 200 4-door|
|Dodge Avenger||Kia Optima||Nissan Altima|
|Toyota Camry built after 12/13||Volkswagen Passat||Acura TL|
|Mitsubishi Outlander Sport||Volvo XC90|
The best accident is not being in an accident, however, that’s not always possible to avoid. When an accident can’t be avoided, being in a safe car with a Top + or Top safety rating that protects you and your occupants is a great decision! For more information on the testing the IIHS conducts, visit their website at http://www.iihs.org/.
What do you drive and what went into picking it? Share your story, thoughts, and questions with me in the comments section of our blog or on our Google + and Facebook pages. I’d love to hear from you.