The safest cars of 2018

December 26, 2017

The safest new cars have a few things in common: they're well-outfitted with safety gear that can help prevent a collision, they have exceptionally strong structures, and they are easy for drivers to see out of.

Making safety a priority in your new-car shopping is easy since all vehicles on sale today have a raft of airbags, standard anti-lock brakes, and stability control. Most offer technology that allows them to apply the brakes automatically—even if the driver doesn't react to a series of audible and sometimes visual warnings.

MORE: Roundup: All the 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners

However, buying the safest car on the road isn't as easy as it sounds. We've based our ratings here on crash-testing by the IIHS and the NHTSA, as well as an evaluation of the safety gear made standard or available at a reasonable price point by the automaker. The insurance industry-funded IIHS' tests are stringent and now include a headlight effectiveness evaluation and testing to ensure that cars are just as safe for front seat passengers as they are for drivers. The federal government's NHTSA doesn't test cars as thoroughly, but its figures are still important to consider.

Moreover, we also consider cars that provide excellent outward visibility from a multi-adjustable driver's seat. Some cars perform well in crash-testing and offer the latest tech, but they may have thick roof pillars that impede the view out.

With that information in mind, click through to see all the top achievers in safety for 2018 arranged alphabetically, thus far.

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80

With so much standard safety equipment and what impressive crash tests, the Genesis G80 is one of the safest sedans on the road.

The 2018 Genesis G80 aces crash-testing. That's a given for our high marks. But what really impresses us is its exceptionally high level of standard safety equipment. Unlike some cars that cost twice as much, the G80 doesn't make buyers pay extra for automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, active head restraints, and nine standard airbags including a driver's knee bag that protects lower-limb injuries in a crash.

For 2018, there's even a new pedestrian detection system that keeps tabs on humans outside the vehicle.

2018 Lincoln Continental

2018 Lincoln Continental

2018 Lincoln Continental

The 2018 Continental’s crash-test scores earn big points here, but we’d love to see more safety gear made standard and available.

This one slips by, but just barely. The 2018 Lincoln Continental fares well in crash-testing even in the IIHS' difficult headlight test. It also earns top marks from the NHTSA all around. However, the Continental differs from the G80 listed previously in that it doesn't come standard with automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings. Instead, buyers need to shop carefully to make sure they're taking home the safest version of this otherwise impressive luxury sedan.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E300)

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (E300)

2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has some of the most advanced safety options available anywhere and has done well in crash tests.

It may not be the most expensive Mercedes, but the 2018 E-Class is the brand's top performer when it comes to safety. The IIHS and the NHTSA give the E-Class sedans top marks all around, although coupe, convertible, and wagon versions haven't been thoroughly tested. Even the headlights on the base E300 perform adequately, meaning buyers don't have to pony up extra cash for brighter, more effective lights.

It's the Driver Assistance suite of features that sets the new E-Class further down the path to autonomous driving. Adaptive cruise control can now follow, stop, and accelerate to follow a car ahead at speeds of up to 130 mph; the so-called Drive Pilot is claimed to do a better job of following the road ahead even when lanes aren't clearly market, at speeds of up to 81 mph. The E-Class will also change lanes for the driver once the turn signal has been activated for two seconds.

2018 Subaru Impreza

2018 Subaru Impreza

2018 Subaru Impreza

Top crash-test ratings and a wide range of advanced collision-avoidance gear help the 2018 Subaru Impreza score very well.

The 2018 Subaru Impreza is proof that you don't have to spend big bucks to get big safety. Although the most advanced tech—marketed as EyeSight by Subaru—is optional, it's available at a reasonable price point. An Impreza sedan with EyeSight runs about $23,500, and it's hardly a basic vehicle. Subaru also includes all-wheel drive as standard equipment on all Imprezas, which helps make them more sure-footed in any weather.

These accolades nearly apply to the related Subaru Crosstrek, except that its higher center of gravity earns it four out of five stars in the NHTSA's rollover measurement.

2018 Subaru Legacy, 2017 Chicago auto show

2018 Subaru Legacy, 2017 Chicago auto show

2018 Subaru Legacy

Few cars on the road today are as safe as the Subaru Legacy.

Subaru's commitment to safety extends to nearly all of its models. Like the Impreza compact car lineup, the automaker's Legacy mid-size sedan achieved top marks in federal and independent testing. The EyeSight suite of advanced safety tech is optional for a reasonable price on nearly every trim level—from about $26,700 on up.

Like the Impreza, the Legacy's safety score nearly extends to its tall-riding Outback sibling, which has a four-star rollover score from the NHTSA. One caveat: Legacys with halogen headlights—base and Premium trim levels—don't offer as impressive light output as higher-spec models with the LED units available on Limited trims.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2018 Toyota Camry

The 2018 Toyota Camry is among the safest cars on the road today.

A fresh redesign for the 2018 model year puts the perennial favorite Toyota Camry back on our list. This four-door comes positively loaded with safety tech, including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control on every model.

The IIHS and the NHTSA deliver top marks all around. Impressively, all versions of the Camry have headlights rated "Acceptable" or above by the IIHS.

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