81 Safest Cars on the Road in 2024 Worth Investing In

Testing shows that cars in these 12 categories are the best bets for drivers who make safety their top priority.

car driver on steering wheel
Updated July 18, 2024
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Buying a car is expensive. But while it’s important to boost your bank account by getting a good deal on a new vehicle, safety should also be a top priority.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reviews cars based on safety features, crash-test results, and other factors.

Here are some of its best picks for safe vehicles in 12 categories. All received at least a Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS, and those noted received a Top Safety Pick+. In addition, all models are four-door options.

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Small cars

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  • Acura Integra (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mazda 3 hatchback (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Mazda 3 sedan (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Toyota Prius (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Toyota Prius Prime

Both the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan earned high marks for protecting drivers and passengers in case of an accident.

The IIHS also noted the ease of use of the LATCH systems for child-seat restraints, including extra LATCH positions.

Midsize cars

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  • Honda Accord (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Hyundai Ioniq 6 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry

The Honda Accord and Hyundai Ioniq 6 received Top Safety Pick+ rankings. The models held up well in crash tests, protecting drivers and passengers.

Midsize luxury cars

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  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C-Class was the only midsize luxury car to get a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS, which gave it good scores based on crash tests and easy access to LATCH systems.

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Large cars

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  • Toyota Crown

The only large car to receive a Top Safety Pick was the Toyota Crown.

Large luxury cars

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  • BMW 5 Series
  • Genesis Electrified G80 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Genesis G80 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Genesis G90 (Top Safety Pick+)

Genesis made a big impression with the IIHS, earning Top Safety Pick+ ratings for all three of its cars in this segment, including both gas and electric models.

Small SUVs

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  • BMW X1
  • Genesis GV60 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda HR-V (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Hyundai Kona (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Kia Sportage
  • Lexus RZ
  • Lexus UX
  • Mazda CX-30 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Mazda CX-50 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Subaru Solterra

SUVs have replaced sedans as some of the most popular models in terms of U.S. sales. So, it isn’t surprising to see so many SUV models earning safety pick recommendations from the IIHS, as more manufacturers try to stay competitive and build in safety features for consumers.

Midsize SUVs

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  • Ford Explorer (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Honda Pilot
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee L
  • Kia Sorento
  • Kia Telluride (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Mazda CX-70
  • Mazda CX-70 PHEV
  • Mazda CX-90 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Mazda CX-90 PHEV
  • Nissan Ariya
  • Nissan Pathfinder (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Subaru Ascent (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Volkswagen Atlas
  • Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
  • Volkswagen ID.4

More electric vehicles are making their way into the IIHS ratings for midsize SUVs. The Volkswagen ID.4 is an all-electric vehicle, while the PHEV versions of Mazda SUVs offer both gas-powered and plug-in hybrid options.

This is the fourth year in a row that the ID.4 received a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating. However, the ID.4 has dropped to a Top Safety Pick after three years with a Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Midsize luxury SUVs

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  • Acura MDX (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Acura RDX
  • Audi Q4
  • Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron
  • BMW X3 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • BMW X5
  • Genesis Electrified GV70
  • Genesis GV70
  • Genesis GV80 (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Infiniti QX60
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus NX Plug-In Hybrid
  • Lexus RX
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Tesla Model Y (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Tesla Model Y AWD
  • Volvo XC90
  • Volvo XC90 Recharge

The two midsize SUV categories each have 19 vehicles on the IIHS list, making them the most versatile option if you want a vehicle that prioritizes safety.

Large SUVs

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  • Audi Q7
  • Audi Q8 e-tron
  • Audi Q8 sportback e-tron
  • Jeep Wagoneer
  • Rivian R1S

Audi dominated the large SUV segment with three models. Both the Audi Q8 and Audi Q8 Sportback are e-tron versions, which will appeal to drivers who want to try a safe EV option for their next vehicle.

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Minivans

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  • Honda Odyssey
  • Toyota Sienna

Parents may want one of these minivans that can help them get kids to school, activities, and more while also prioritizing safety.

Small pickups

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  • Hyundai Santa Cruz
  • Toyota Tacoma

Both the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Toyota Tacoma are good choices if you want a small pickup that prioritizes safety.

Large pickups

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  • Rivian R1T (Top Safety Pick+)
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Toyota Tundra extended cab

The all-electric Rivian R1T has been a Top Safety Pick+ for three years in a row, while the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tundra extended cab are both Top Safety Picks after earning Top Safety Pick+ ratings last year.

Bottom line

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Getting a safe car should be a top priority, even if it means paying a little more.

If you're worried about costs, try to find other ways to bring down the expense of ownership. For example, if you shop around and compare quotes, you can save money on car insurance.

Finding an affordable car insurance company and purchasing a car that is fuel-efficient can help you save money year after year. That can help offset the cost of buying a more expensive vehicle.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.