Car Sense

IIHS: The Safest Cars of 2019

Shopping for a new car can feel a little overwhelming – especially with today’s high-tech safety features. From crash avoidance to emergency autobrake, today’s car shoppers have more options than ever before.

Luckily, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives us common folks a great place to start with their annual list of TOP SAFETY PICK awards. Whether you’re actively shopping or just seeing what’s out there, here’s what made the cut for 2019.

How It Works (And What They Score)

Since 2006, the safety experts at the IIHS (a nonprofit research and education organization) conduct tests to determine which vehicles do the best job of protecting people in the most common kinds of crashes — front, side, rollover and rear.

Related: Learn more about the science of road safety at the IIHS

This isn’t a participation trophy. Standards for the TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards are tough. Over time, the IIHS has strengthened the criteria as new technology – and crash test protocols – become available. In the 2013 model year, they added the top-tier “plus” award to acknowledge the best of the best.

Here’s what this year’s winners had to do to earn each award:

  • TOP SAFETY PICK+: This year, 30 models were awarded the top-tier award. These all earned the highest rating for passenger-side protection in a small overlap front crash and have good-rated available headlights. (Headlight testing was added to the criteria just last year.)

  • TOP SAFETY PICK: The 27 winners of the second-tier award earned acceptable or higher rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test and the nighttime headlight evaluation.

  • Both: Together, all 57 award-winning vehicles have good ratings in the IIHS’ five other crashworthiness evaluations. They all also have an available automatic emergency braking system that rates advanced or superior for front crash prevention.

For more details on how crash tests work (and what they look for), visit the safety ratings page on the IIHS website.

THE 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ Winners

After the IIHS toughened up its testing criteria for 2018, only 15 vehicles earned the top-tier “plus” rating. In turn, auto manufacturers stepped up their game. For 2019, the winners’ list doubled to a total of 30 vehicles.

Here they are by category:

Small Cars:

  • Honda Insight
  • Hyundai Elantra (built after September 2018)
  • Kia Forte
  • Kia Niro hybrid
  • Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Subaru Impreza 4-door sedan
  • Subaru Impreza wagon
  • Subaru WRX

Midsize Cars:

  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Optima
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry

Midsize Luxury Cars:

  • Genesis G70
  • Lexus ES

Large Car:

  • Toyota Avalon (built after September 2018)

Large Luxury Cars:

  • BMW 5 series
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4-door sedan

Small SUVs:

  • Hyundai Kona
  • Mazda CX-5

Midsize SUVs:

  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Ascent

Midsize luxury SUVs:

  • Acura RDX
  • BMW X3
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Want more? See the remaining 27 winners in the TOP SAFETY PICK category (plus safety ratings for older cars) at IIHS.org. 

Auto Insurance for New and Used Cars

If you’re shopping for a car, you’ll also need car insurance. Get an online auto insurance quote or check out these helpful links for further reading:

Whether you’re buying your first set of used wheels or moving up to your first brand new car, we’re eager to help you find coverage that’s the right fit for your pride and joy.  Find a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood or read more about auto insurance from ERIE.

The results are in: See which makes and models earned the TOP SAFETY PICK awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. /blog/safest-cars-2019 Erie Insurance