Car and Driver
For the 2022 model year, more than 50 vehicles earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest honor of “Top Safety Pick+”. The IIHS, funded by the insurance industry, conducts crash tests that include driver’s-side small-overlap front, moderate-overlap front, side-impact, roof-strength, passenger-side small-overlap test, and head restraint testing. To earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating, a car must score a rating of Good in all six of those tests, get a Good or Acceptable rating for its headlights, and achieve an Advanced or Superior rating for crash-prevention systems. The cars in this list have all won the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ award for 2022.
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The 2022 Acura TLX earned Good or Superior marks in just about every test the IIHS conducts. Every TLX comes standard with LED low- and high-beam projector headlamps, and IIHS testing showed that the low-beam pattern was never too bright for oncoming traffic, and the high-beam assist helped boost output while driving. The TLX comes standard with driver-assist technologies such as forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert.
TLX TESTED | TLX INFO | TLX SPECS
The comfortable-riding Audi A6 and its Allroad wagon counterpart earned a spot on our 2022 Editor’s Choice list because of its smooth powertrain and high-tech cabin. Turns out, the A6 line is pretty darn safe, too. The A6 Allroad scored slightly higher than the regular A6 sedan in headlight testing, but the rest of the results were nearly identical. The A6 Premium received an acceptable rating because its LED headlights weren’t as powerful. During roof-strength testing, IIHS applied 22,702 pounds to the roof of the A6 to get it to crush the standard five inches. This is exceptional and means the A6 and A6 Allroad have a strength-to-weight ratio of 5.39 for their roofs.
A6 TESTED | A6 TESTED | A6 SPECS
The Audi A7 is much like the A6, only it’s bigger and quicker, and its hatchback makes it a more useful luxury four-door. The A7 scored Good and Superior ratings on almost all IIHS testing, with an Acceptable rating for headlights. Although every A7 comes with low- and high-beam LED projectors, the lights emitted some glare that kept them from receiving a Good rating.
A7 TESTED | A7 INFO | A7 SPECS
Skeptical of the low-cost luxury sports sedan from Genesis? Maybe the G70’s IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award will put those worries on ice. The G70 received Good or Superior ratings on all crash tests and headlight measurements but came up short with its somewhat difficult-to-use child-seat latches. IIHS said the lower anchors were too deep in the seat, making maneuvering around them difficult. We’ve noted that rear-seat space is tight in the G70, but its balanced chassis and driving feel at a base price of $37,000 is an unbeatable deal. The G70 also comes with more standard driver-assist technology than many of its rivals. Automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control are all standard. The G70 avoided all IIHS vehicle-to-vehicle front crashes, as well as 12- and 25-mph vehicle-to-pedestrian impacts. During the 37 mph vehicle-to-pedestrian test, the G70 dropped to just 4 mph in under a second. The brakng force is strong with this one.
G70 TESTED | G70 INFO | G70 SPECS
The Genesis G80 isn’t just stately looking, it’s also safe. The mid-size luxury sedan takes home top honors from the IIHS in just about every category, though its headlights and LATCH system’s ease of both take silver, with Acceptable ratings.
G80 TESTED | G80 INFO | G80 SPECS
The Genesis G90 aims to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-class, Audi A8, and BMW 7-series, none of which are a Top Safety Pick+. The G90 received top marks for crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and crash mitigation. It received an Acceptable rating for its somewhat difficult-to-use child-seat anchors, though. IIHS ranked the G90’s standard LED projector low- and high-beam headlights as Good.
G90 TESTED | G90 INFO | G90 SPECS
The Honda Accord gets top marks in IIHS’s crash prevention and avoidance tests. Its child-seat anchors earn a Good+ rating for the easy-to-find latch positions. Accord LX and base Hybrid trims received an Acceptable headlight rating, likely because its high-beam uses halogen reflectors rather than the LED reflectors that are standard on all other trims.
ACCORD TESTED | ACCORD INFO | ACCORD SPECS
Honda Civic Sedan and Hatchback
Although the Honda Insight is Civic-like in size, it scored higher overall than the bigger Accord IIHS testing, as every Insight comes standard with LED low- and high-beam headlights. The compact hybrid sedan scored Good or Superior across every IIHS test, with a Good+ rating for easy-to-us child-seat anchors. All models meet qualifications for the agencies’ awards, so buyers don’t have to pay extra for an option package to enjoy the safety and security the Insight provides. We lived with a 2019 Insight for 40,000 miles during a long-term road test.
INSIGHT TESTED | INSIGHT INFO | INSIGHT SPECS
The Kia K5 earns Good and Superior ratings by IIHS in just about every category it tests for, save for the ease of use for its LATCH system, which was given an Acceptable rating. That rating also applies to the mid-size sedan’s standard LED headlights. The units available in the higher-spec GT-Line’s Premium package, in the GT-Line with all-wheel drive, or in the GT with the GT1 package earned ratings of Good.
K5 TESTED | K5 INFO | K5 SPECS
Kia’s rear-drive Stinger fastback nabs Good scores in every one of IIHS’s crashworthiness tests. Strangely, the standard LED headlamps of the GT-Line and GT1 trims receive a Good rating, while the GT2’s upgraded lights get an Acceptable grade. Those with young children may want to avoid the Stinger, however, as the model’s LATCH function’s ease of use was rated Marginal by IIHS.
STINGER TESTED | STINGER INFO | STINGER SPECS
Lexus’s mid-size ES may not be the most exciting vehicle in its lineup, but it is one of the safest. The IIHS rates the sedan tops in all of its major categories, save its vehicle-to-pedestrian crash protection test, where the ES gets the second-best Advanced rating.
ES TESTED | ES INFO | ES SPECS
The Lexus IS received a big safety update for models built after June 2017. Lexus modified the footwell and reinforced the front of the car and its doors. These changes translated to Good IIHS crash-test ratings across the board. Oddly enough, the standard headlights on base IS got a higher rating than the model’s optional Premium Triple-Beam LED projector headlights. According to the headlight distances measured by IIHS, the output of the triple beams was not great.
IS TESTED | IS INFO | IS SPECS
Mazda 3 Sedan and Hatchback
The Mazda CX-5 sells three times as many units as the fun-to-drive Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback, but comparing IIHS ratings reveals the Mazda 3 is actually marginally safer than its SUV sibling. The Mazda 3 matched CX-5 with Good and Superior ratings in every crash test, but scored higher in its ability to avoid a front-end crash with a pedestrian, and for its easier-to-use child-seat anchors.
3 TESTED | 3 INFO | 3 SPECS
Mercedes-Benz E-class Sedan
The Mercedes E-class sedan is available in many flavors, from the luxurious Benz-badged trims to the sporty AMG models. Regardless of how you take your E, you’re getting a four-door with a Top Safety Pick+ rating by IIHS. Still, there are some areas where Mercedes can improve upon this model, as the standard LED headlights get an Acceptable grade (the car’s optionally available units earn a mark of Good). Similarly, the standard forward-collision system was rated Basic in vehicle-to-pedestrian crash avoidance testing. The car’s optional setup, however, netted a Superior score.
E-CLASS TESTED | E-CLASS INFO | E-CLASS SPECS
People renting cars from Hertz will be comforted in knowing the Nissan Altima earns the Top Safety Pick+ mark. Only the Altima’s headlights earned less than a Good rating, as both the car’s standard halogen-projector units, as well as its upgraded LED ones, were deemed merely Acceptable by IIHS.
ALTIMA TESTED | ALTIMA INFO | ALTIMA SPECS
The Subaru BRZ is an absolute riot from the driver’s seat. There’s a reason we named it to our 10Best list, after all. It’s also quite safe, earning top marks in all of IIHS’s categories, save its LATCH ease of use, but you’d be hard-pressed to get a child seat into those small back seats anyway.
BRZ TESTED | BRZ INFO | BRZ SPECS
The lone Subaru Crosstrek trim to nab IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ is the $37,520 plug-in-hybrid model. Credit the fact it comes standard with the brand’s EyeSight active safety features, which help it earn Superior ratings in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention testing.
CROSSTREK TESTED | CROSSTREK INFO | CROSSTREK SPECS
Every Subaru Legacy comes with LED projector low- and high-beam headlights. While the Legacy got Good and Superior ratings in all six crash tests and crash prevention tests, IIHS did note that during small overlap passenger-side testing, the dummy’s head was vulnerable after slipping into the gap between the frontal and side curtain airbags. It was given an Acceptable rating for that specific evaluation.
LEGACY TESTED | LEGACY INFO | LEGACY SPECS
The Tesla Model 3 earned Good ratings in all six IIHS crash tests, including Superior ratings for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash avoidance, and an Advanced rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance. That said, IIHS found the LATCH anchors a bit of annoyance and gave the Model 3 an Acceptable rating in that category.
MODEL 3 TESTED | MODEL 3 INFO | MODEL 3 SPECS
Though every Toyota Camry is a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle, the Hybrid XLE equipped with adaptive headlights is the safest of the bunch. 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.
CAMRY TESTED | CAMRY INFO | CAMRY SPECS
Toyota Corolla Sedan and Hatchback
Toyota’s Corolla compact sedan and hatchback ace IIHS’s safety tests in just about all categories save for one: headlights. The base Corolla’s LED lamps earn a Marginal rating, while higher-spec trims’ lamps are deemed Acceptable.
COROLLA TESTED | COROLLA INFO | COROLLA SPECS
If we could recreate how Volvo’s crane test came into existence, we think it might’ve gone something like this: Hey Lars, do you mind if we borrow your crane? We’ve got 10 new Volvos we want to drop from 100 feet because, you know, it’s our job and, well, we just really want to borrow your crane for something. It’s no surprise the S60 is rated so high by IIHS after it went through a test like that. The S60 and S60 Recharge scored Good and Superior ratings across the board, with an Acceptable rating for child-seat anchors. IIHS deemed the anchors for child seats to be easy to find, but also a little difficult to maneuver.
S60 TESTED | S60 INFO | S60 SPECS
The Volvo S90 does most, but not all, things well according to IIHS. While its vehicle-to-vehicle crash mitigation technology earned a Superior rating, its vehicle-to-pedestrian tech netted the lower Advanced mark. The big sedan’s headlights and LATCH anchors also fell short of Good, and instead earn Acceptable ratings.
S90 TESTED | S90 INFO | S90 SPECS
The Safest New Cars for 2022
- Acura TLX
- Audi A6 and A6 Allroad
- Audi A7
- Genesis G70
- Genesis G80
- Genesis G90
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic Sedan and Hatchback
- Honda Insight
- Kia K5
- Kia Stinger
- Lexus ES
- Lexus IS
- Mazda 3 Sedan and Hatchback
- Mercedes-Benz E-class Sedan
- Nissan Altima
- Nissan Maxima
- Subaru BRZ
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru Outback
- Tesla Model 3
- Toyota GR86
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota Corolla Sedan and Hatchback
- Toyota GR86
- Volvo S60
- Volvo S90
- Volvo V60 Cross Country
- Volvo V90 Cross Country
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