When you think of driving a car, what is the first thought that comes into your mind?  A dream of driving your favorite exotic sports car…  The feeling of seemingly limitless freedom when you first received your driver’s license…   The endless sea of brake lights in front of you that time you were caught in the worst traffic ever…  Did anyone immediately think of fastening your seat belt? Checking your mirrors? Making sure your airbags are turned on?  Safety may not have been the first thought in your mind, and that’s okay; however, safety while driving should be one of your first thoughts.  Always.  Your life may depend on it.

In America, we are constantly persuaded, swayed, or tempted by commercial advertising to want a vehicle based on the emotions that it will invoke within us.  The allure and status of driving a particular luxury car brand.  The fuel economy of the newest electric-powered vehicle promising less maintenance and upkeep.  The notion that no other car or truck is built Ford Tough like yours was.  Far be it from me to tell you which make or model is “the best” or best fits your lifestyle and why.  My intention is merely to point out that vehicle safety should be the most important consideration when shopping for a new car or truck.

In Texas in 2016, 3,773 deaths occurred in motor vehicle accidents, up 5.45% from the prior year.  Over 17,000 people suffered serious injuries on Texas roadways last year.  Almost half of the traffic fatalities occurred in urban areas, and as such, almost half were in rural areas.  Vehicle safety is not just a concern for people in big cities, or people with enough money to buy a luxury car.  Vehicle safety reaches every corner, every town, and every person that steps foot inside a vehicle even if they don’t drive – your kids, your dog, your mother-in-law.

Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers wants to help make vehicle safety a top priority in your life.  Despite all the risks associated with driving, each year auto manufacturers continue to produce safer vehicles as technology stimulates innovative new ideas and defenses to protect consumers.  There are many publications that each claim to definitively rank which new vehicles are the safest each year – US News, Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book, Car and Driver, etc. – based on their own unique ways of testing and probing the new model year vehicles.  To help with the collection, review, and comparison of each publication’s particular rankings, Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers has compiled its own list of “Safest Cars for 2017” based on the voluminous reports and publications out there for consumers.  Find out if the next car you want to buy is on our list, starting with our Top 5…

 

Top 5 

#5 – Honda Accord

One of the best-selling brands of cars in America for three decades, the Honda Accord is seemingly always on a “best cars” list each year.  The Accord for 2017 is no exception, taking home prestigious rankings by US News & World Report, Forbes, and the Drive.  The Accord also received the top safety rating (Top Safety Pick +) from the IIHS – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety[1] – and a Kelley Blue Book Expert Rating of 9.3 out of 10.  The 2017 model is the first to incorporate Honda’s new HondaSensing safety features – rear-view camera, brake assist – in the vehicle as standard equipment.  The Accord is modestly priced in the $20,000’s depending on whether you need leather seats or the best new technology.

#4 – Chevrolet Volt

Chevy’s second generation plug-in hybrid is capable of going 53 miles without gasoline, or if necessary, averages 103 mpg overall (EPA).   While its fuel economy is its most prominent feature, this vehicle is also one of the safest on the road.  It comes with 10 airbags and a rear-view camera standard, with optional safety features that rival those of much more expenses luxury cars.  As with all other vehicles on this list, the Volt also received an IIHS top safety rating of TSP+ and a KBB Expert Rating of 9.0.  The standard model will start in the low $30,000’s, but you may also qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits.

#3 – Genesis G80

Hyundai’s high-end model brand, Genesis, is only a decade old, but that doesn’t preclude it from producing an impressive lineup of safe and valuable vehicles.  The 2017 G80 not only received a perfect 5-star rating from the NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration[2] – but also received the IIHS TPS+ rating.  Needless to say, this is objectively one of the safest cars on the road, and its advanced safety features won’t cost you extra.  The standard safety features include automatic braking, blind spot warning, lane assist, lane change alerts, and rear cross traffic alerts.   With a KBB Expert Rating of 9.2, and a starting price at about $40,000, it is the most expense model on Daniel Stark’s Top 5.

#2 – Volvo S60

Volvo is a brand name synonymous with safety.  The company has pledged to have no person seriously injured or killed in one of their cars by the year 2020 in the company’s new project, Vision 2020.  The S60 is a step toward this vision.  Similar to the Genesis, the S60 boasts a 5-star NHTSA safety rating, and is an IIHS TPS+ award winner.  While its standard equipment does not include a rear-view camera (which quickly becoming the standard on most models), Volvo has included more high end safety features as standard equipment such as HID projector headlights with active cornering technology and low-speed automatic emergency braking.  If the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about driving a car is safety, then you probably already own a Volvo.  But if you don’t, and you want a vehicle produced by a company whose sole focus is on your safety, the Volvo S60 starts at around $30,000.

#1 – Subaru Legacy

Surprisingly, the Subaru Legacy is present on every 2017 customer review and award publication.  Is it because of the 5-star NHTSA safety rating?  The elusive IIHS TPS+ rating?  Great price range, starting in the low $20,000s?  While it’s certainly not the most advertised vehicle, the most popular vehicle, or the cheapest, the Subaru Legacy will give you the most safety for your dollar.  Along with a suite of standard and optional safety features, the Legacy will also give you Subaru’s standard all-wheel drive.  It’s no wonder that Subaru is ranked as one of the safest and most dependable vehicle manufacturers by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.  The Legacy takes the coveted position as #1 in our DS Top 5 due to its overall quality, dependability, and safety.

 

Honorable Mentions

While the different magazines, publications, and online lists of the safest cars in 2017 will include various types of vehicles such as minivans, trucks, or SUV’s, our list focused mainly on those vehicle models which appeared on multiple lists (some were on every list).  Unintentionally, the DS Top 5 includes all cars, so to broaden the spectrum a bit we will discuss the Safest Truck, Safest Minivan, and Safest SUV, according to their rankings and presence on national reports.

SUV – Acura MDX

While not a perfect rating in all the crash tests, the MDX received top marks from the NHTSA overall, and also took home an IIHS TPS+ designation.  Every MDX will include lane assist, emergency braking, rear cross traffic assist, and rear-view camera features.  Standard.  The “technology” optional package bumped up the safety feature to an even higher level.  At a price though, starting in the mid-$40,000 range.  No other SUV contains a higher quality package of safety features than the MDX.

Minivan – Chrysler Pacifica

The only minivan in 2017 to receive the IIHS TPS+ safety designation was the Pacifica.  It also received a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.  While most of the advanced safety features are available with optional packages, the standard package will provide a rear-view camera.   KBB’s Expert rating is a stellar 9.3 and will start out at around $30,000.  The Pacifica will seat 7-8 passengers and provide above 30 mpg on top of its high safety marks.  Clearly a perfect choice for a larger family with an eye on safety.

Truck – Honda Ridgeline

A car, minivan, or SUV will not meet the needs of many Texans’ daily lives.  The truck is king in the Lone Star State.  But which model will provide you the most safety?  It’s not Dodge, Ford, or Chevy.  Japanese automaker Honda claims the title of safest truck in Texas with its unique Ridgeline.  The only truck to appear in multiple national rankings, and the only truck in 2017 awarded by the IIHS with a TPS+ designation was the Ridgeline.  This truck can be equipped with a staggering amount of safety features – through Honda’s new HondaSensing features – and was also awarded a 5-star crash rating by the NHTSA.  No other truck has the safety features and design than the Ridgeline and is far and away the safest truck in Texas.

 

 

[1] U.S. nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers; established in1959 with the goal of reducing the number of traffic accidents in the USA and the rate of injuries in crashes.  Researches and ranks passenger vehicles and studies traffic regulations, innovations in technology, and consumer products such as child booster seats.

[2] U.S Government agency of the Executive Branch within the Department of Transportation; creates and enforces vehicle safety standards and fuel economy standards; maintains the vehicle identification number (VIN) system

by Zachary Tritico | February 21st, 2018