List of Top 6 Safest New Cars for 2023: Car and Driver Magazine

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IIHS Top 6 Safety Pick+ New Car Award Winners Announced

IIHS Top 6 Safety Pick+ New Car Award Winners Announced

Aug 7, 2023

Americans love their cars. Whether it’s getting to-and-from work or for leisure, U.S. citizens drive more now than ever. In fact, The Zebra – an insurance comparison site – notes that over the past 40 years, the number of miles Americans collectively drive on a yearly basis has increased from 1.5 trillion to 3.2 trillion. In other words, although the American population is only 1.5 times as large as it was 40 years ago, U.S. residents actually do twice as much driving.

“That sum would cover almost three round trips between Los Angeles and New York. As a collective, American drivers cover 3.2 trillion miles each year, enough to take nearly 5,000 trips to the moon and back,” The Zebra said.

Additionally, The Zebra notes that the average number of miles driven per year by Americans has now reached a total of 14,263 (equating to approximately 1,200 car miles traveled per person, per month). Car and Driver estimates that figure to be slightly lower – based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). According to the FHWA, American drivers travel approximately 13,476 miles per year on our nation’s roads and highways.

Here in California, we drive the most total miles per year when compared to the other 49 states – recording 340 billion roadway miles annually (although Wyoming has the highest per capita mileage at 24,000 each year). By comparison, Californians drive an estimated 12,524 miles individually every year.

Given the significant number of miles Americans travel by car each year, vehicle safety is understandably a top priority. In June, Car and Driver announced the Top 6 Safest New Cars for 2023 based on data provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The report also included details regarding how the IIHS’s criteria for its Top Safety Pick+ awards have been “overhauled” to help consumers choose vehicles that offer the most protection in the event of a car accident.

Let’s take a look at which vehicles made the list of the IIHS’s Top 6 Safest New Cars for 2023.

Top 6 Safety Pick+ Award Winners Announced by IIHS/Car and Driver

Car and Driver claims the criteria for receiving a top safety award (Top Safety Pick+) from the IIHS is “now tougher than ever” while also noting that the vehicles which made the list are currently “as safe as they come.”

Top 6 Safest New Cars According to Car and Driver Magazine

  • Acura Integra: Acura’s newly-released Integra model is the only small car to earn 2023 Top Safety Pick+ honors from the IIHS. The compact sedan scored the IIHS’s top rating – Superior – in all of the crash avoidance and mitigation tests. That includes, according to Car and Driver, new tests involving nighttime and vehicle-to-pedestrian scenarios. “Its standard LED headlights earned it an Acceptable rating due to suboptimal visibility on certain curves of the IIHS’s test track. Meanwhile, in the Seatbelt Reminders category, the Integra scored only Marginal due to inadequate warning chime volume,” Car and Driver said.
  • Genesis G90: Genesis is a luxury brand which aims to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW. But as Car and Driver reports, none of those more-established luxury car manufacturers managed to earn top honors with their respective competing vehicle models – the Mercedes-Benz S-class, Audi A8, and BMW 7-series. The Genesis G90, however, earned top marks in multiple categories: crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and crash mitigation. “It received an Acceptable rating for its standard LED projector headlights, however, due to inadequate lighting from both the low- and high-beams on certain curves on the IIHS’s test track,” Car and Driver said.
  • Honda Accord: Commonly considered a staple among the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road for the past several decades, the Honda Accord scored top marks from the IIHS for 2023 with a Superior score in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian test. Additionally, the IIHS gave the Accord a Good+ rating for its child-seat anchors which reportedly feature easy-to-find latch positions.
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Mercedes conducted a full redesign on the C-Class in 2022, according to Car and Driver. But it wasn’t until this year that the luxury model earned a top safety pick from the IIHS. Car and Driver noted that the award was largely due to the 2023 model being equipped with the optional Driver Assistance package. But it’s important for consumers to note that the specific optional feature “box” needs to be checked in order for the C-Class to receive the highest safety rating. “As long as that box is checked, the C-class earns Superior ratings in all of the IIHS’s crash avoidance and mitigation tests. With the standard system, the C-class only manages an Acceptable grade in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian test and a Basic score in the nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian test. Interestingly, the C-class’s standard LED headlights received a score of Good, but the optional Digital Light package were deemed merely Acceptable on account of the multi-LED pixel system’s inadequate visibility on certain sections of the IIHS’s test track,” Car and Driver said.
  • Subaru Outback: A wagon version of Subaru’s Legacy model, the Outback earned a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2023 with excellent marks in all of the IIHS’s crash tests (including the updated side-collision test). “Impressively, the Outback also aced all of the safety organization’s crash avoidance and mitigation tests. Every Outback comes with LED projector low- and high-beam headlights, and they performed well enough in the IIHS’s tests to earn the model a score of Good in that category,” Car and Driver said.
  • Toyota Camry: Like the Honda Accord, the Camry is a mainstay among annual top-rated picks for both safety and reliability (and has been virtually since its inception). According to Car and Driver, every Toyota Camry model for 2023 earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. The model which was deemed safest among the Camry fleet, however, was the Hybrid XLE (which is equipped with adaptive headlights). “While other Camry headlights earn Acceptable ratings, the Hybrid XLE’s available adaptive units were the lone Camry lighting system that IIHS gave the top mark of Good. The Camry also scores highly when it comes to child seat anchors, earning a Good+ rating for its easy-to-find latch anchor points. It’s worth noting that the award only applies to Toyota Camry sedans built after January 2023, as those cars received updated side sill structure and side airbags,” Car and Driver said.

As stated earlier, given the more rigorous safety criteria established by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, all of the above mentioned vehicles would be considered safe for individuals and families alike.

How are the IIHS Safety Pick+ Awards Determined?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is funded by the auto insurance industry. To determine the safest vehicles on the road, the IIHS conducts crash tests to “measure a vehicle’s ability to protect its occupants in a collision.

As Car and Driver reported, the side-impact collision test was recently updated to apply 81% more crash energy.

The IIHS confirms that it overhauled its criteria for a vehicle to receive a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2023. And the plan is to continue a more stringent set of criteria to help ensure that the actual safest cars receive the highest honors going forward.

The various ratings that may be given by the IIHS after crash tests are conducted include:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Advanced
  • Superior

“Going forward, a Good rating in the more stringent side-crash test will be required to earn Top Safety Pick+. A Good rating will also still be required in the driver’s-side small-overlap front, moderate-overlap front and passenger-side small-overlap tests. The roof-strength and head restraint tests have been removed from the criteria due to industry-wide excellence in those areas. A car must also score a Good or Acceptable rating for its headlights, and achieve an Advanced or Superior rating in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian prevention test and the new nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian test,” Car and Driver said.

Are Some Cars More Prone to Crashes Than Others?

Last month, Dordulian Law Group published a blog highlighting which vehicles are considered to be the most “accident-prone.”

The list offers an interesting perspective on how the same vehicle manufacturer – e.g. Subaru – can produce a car which makes the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ list while also offering a model that is listed among the most “accident-prone.”

In Subaru’s case, the Impreza and WRX made the list for most accident-prone, while the Outback earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2023.

The list of Most Accident-Prone Cars for 2023 was compiled by Insurify Insurance. The company reportedly culled data from over 4.6 million auto insurance applications to determine which vehicles were most prone to car accidents.

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