Consumers looking to lease or buy a larger, more upscale car--and who want to be sure it’s safe for the family--have several excellent choices in six 2011 large luxury cars rated Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
You might note that some names are missing (as of now) from the list, although they appeared for 2010 model year. That’s because the IIHS added a roof strength test to their rollover testing. To qualify for Top Safety Pick status, models tested must garner “Good” ratings in all four tests: high-speed front and side crash tests, rollover test, and evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. Winning vehicles are also required to offer electronic stability control.
A true driver’s car, the 2011 BMW 5-Series comfortably fits five adults inside – in pure luxury. It’s also a Top Safety Pick, and it’s easy to see why. Besides six standard airbags (with optional rear-seat side airbags, although not recommended for those who will install child seats), adaptive light control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and electronic stability control standard, the 5-Series offers several available innovative safety features: head-up display, night vision with pedestrian detection, rear-view camera, park distance control, and active blind spot detection. Some of these are available as part of packages or as stand-alone options.
Gran Turismo models have active cruise control, multi-view camera, and BMW Assist (four-year, no-charge safety assist services).
Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) range from $44,550 for 528i Sedan to $62,000 for the 550i xDrive Sedan, and from $56,000 for 535i Gran Turismo to $66,200 for 550i xDrive Gran Turismo.
The only domestic luxury car on the list, the 2011 Cadillac CTS Sport sedan earns a Top Safety Pick designation for its performance in the IIHS safety tests. Generally considered a mid-size luxury car, the IIHS classifies the CTS as large. A full complement of airbags (driver and passenger airbag, thorax side impact, rear body airbag, and front and rear head-curtain side impact airbags), OnStar with automated crash response (one year of service included), StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, and adaptive forward lighting are standard. Safety features that are available or standard (depending on model selected) include rear parking assist, rear-view backup camera with LCD display integrated into rearview mirror, and ultrasocic rear parking assist. Five trims, available in RWD or AWD, carry starting MSRPs ranging from $35,165 to $53,970.