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IIHS Names the Safest Vehicles on the Road in 2021

March 3, 2021
3 mins
A woman dog and child walk by an orange SUV in the snow

Automakers are increasingly building safer vehicles that can withstand a crash and protect drivers and passengers. Case in point: The Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is awarding 90 vehicles in 2021 with either its coveted Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick designation. In 2020, the IIHS awarded a total of 64 vehicles with one of the two titles.

This year, 49 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick+ award (compared to 23 in 2020), and another 41 vehicles the Top Safety Pick award. The difference between the two is the “plus” – a designation given to models that have good or acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages.

All the vehicles selected require good ratings in each of the six crashworthiness tests the IIHS performs. The vehicles must also have or can be equipped with headlights that meet the Institute’s standards, and, a front-crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian situations.

For consumers, not only does driving a vehicle that’s equipped with driver-assist technologies and additional safety features provide peace-of-mind, having them could result in a discount on their car insurance premiums.

“With these awards, we want to make it easy for consumers to find vehicles that provide good protection in crashes, sufficient lighting and effective front crash protection,” says IIHS President David Harkey. “Manufacturers have stepped up to meet the challenge, and the list of great options has grown to an impressive size this year.”

Improving headlights make a big difference

According to the IIHS, at highway speeds, it takes a driver 1.5 seconds to react to an obstacle under ideal conditions. During this time a vehicle will continue to travel for 120 feet (or about 37 metres). When driving at night, therefore, a vehicle’s headlights should light the way beyond this distance to minimize the risk of a collision.

When equipped with the necessary front-crash prevention systems (which may not be a standard feature on every model), the following vehicles are this year’s Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick award winners.

IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick+ Winners: Cars, SUVs, Minivans

Small cars Midsize cars Midsize luxury cars Large luxury cars Small SUVs Midsize SUVs Midsize luxury SUVs Large SUVs Minivans
Honda Insight Honda Accord Acura TLX Audi A6 Mazda CX-3 Ford Explorer Acura RDX Audi e-tron Honda Odyssey
Mazda 3 hatchback Kia 5 Lexus ES 350 Audi A6 Allroad Mazda CX-5 Hyundai Palisade Cadillac XT6 Audi e-tron Sportback Toyota Sienna
Mazda 3 sedan Mazda 6 Lexus IS Audi A7 Mazda CX-30 Mazda CX-9 Hyundai Nexo
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Nissan Altima Tesla Model 3 Genesis G70 Nissan Rogue Subaru Ascent Lexus NX
Nissan Maxima Volvo S60 Genesis G90 Subaru Forester Toyota Highlander Mercedes-Benz GLE
Subaru Legacy Volvo S60 Recharge Volvo XC60
Subaru Outback Volvo V60 Volvo XC60 Recharge
Toyota Camry Volvo V60 Recharge Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 Recharge
Volvo XC40
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IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick Winners: Cars

Small cars Midsize cars Midsize luxury cars Large cars
Honda Civic hatchback Hyundai Sonata Audi A4 Kia Stinger
Honda Civic sedan Audi Ad Sportback
Hyundai Veloster BMW 3 series
Kia Forte Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Kia Soul
Nissan Sentra
Subaru Crosstrek
Subaru Impreza sedan
Subaru Impreza wagon
Subaru WRX
Toyota Corolla hatchback
Toyota Corolla sedan

IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick Winners: SUVs and Pickups

Small SUVs Midsize SUVs Midsize luxury SUVs Large SUVs Large pickups
Chevrolet Equinox Ford Edge Lexus RX Audi Q8 Ram 1500
Ford Escape Kia Sorento Lincoln Aviator
Honda CR-V Kia Telluride Mercedes-Benz GLC
Hyundai Kona Volkswagen Tiguan
Hyundai Tucson
Hyundai Venue
Kia Seltos
Kia Sportage
Lexus UX
Lincoln Corsair
Toyota C-HR
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4 Prime
Toyota Venza

Source: IIHS

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Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile, seasoned writer and editor. He worked as both a staff writer and freelance writer for many business and technology publications as well as for several newspapers. He writes about home, auto, and travel insurance, and is a media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA.


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