The Safest New Cars of 2022

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Why publish a list of our picks for the best new cars that are the safest? Aren’t all cars safe in 2022? Don’t confuse “safe” with “safer.”

Manufacturers make vehicles that are safer than those from 10 years ago, for sure. However, some are safer than others. At least that’s the finding of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Both organizations put new car models through a battery of crash and safety tests, scoring each for the degree of protection they provide for occupants.

If you choose a car on this list, you can be assured you will likely survive a crash, but in many cases avoid it altogether. We pulled together a collection of the best 2022 models made the safest for you to drive and what earns them that distinction.

In a nutshell, these car models go above and beyond government-mandated safety features and manufacturer norms. Read on to learn more.

How We Did It: The Methodology

What we looked for were cars with perfect scores in both IIHS and NHTSA testing. With those in hand, we narrowed the field among the trim levels within each model based on standard and available active safety features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

Several safety features we’ve grown accustomed to are actually government-mandated. In other words, the federal government made them standard by law. These include antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, rearview cameras, tire pressure monitors, and so forth.

Airbags

The government also mandates airbags. However, that mandate stops at two: one for the driver and one for the front passenger. Other than 2-seat sports cars, nearly all passenger vehicles today come with at least six airbags. They include the two mandated airbags, two front-side impact airbags, and two side-curtain airbags.

However, several models don’t stop there, either. They may include airbags covering rear-side impact, knee, front center, and so forth. We point out when one of our picks provides more than six airbags.

Some government-mandated safety features get referred to as active safety features defined by their role in preventing accidents. Stability control and antilock brakes fall into this category. We know these are mandated features, so we don’t itemize them in our descriptions.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Technologies

What we did look at in determining the safest trim levels within models are active safety features that are not mandated by the government. This is where features like forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, automatic braking, and lane-keeping assist come in.

We also considered other driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, driver-awareness alert, and a head-up display.  We argue that LED exterior headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors also contribute to a vehicle’s safety.

Here’s a list of the more significant advanced technologies we considered:

Adaptive Cruise Control: Once you reach your desired speed, you lock it in. Adaptive cruise control maintains the preset speed but also responds to the changing speed of the vehicle ahead. It slows your vehicle as the vehicle ahead slows. Some systems will bring the vehicle to a complete stop, if necessary. A form of adaptive cruise control, Traffic Jam Assist, is engineered specifically for slow-moving stop-and-go city traffic.
Adaptive Front Lights: These headlights turn in the same direction as the front wheels to light the way when taking a curve or making a turn.
Blind-Spot Monitoring: Sensors mounted on the corners of the rear bumper detect and warn of approaching traffic pulling into the blind spots on the rear quarter of your vehicle. Typically it is married to the rear cross-traffic alert that warns of traffic crossing behind you when backing out of a parking space.
Forward Collision Warning: Using a camera or a combination of camera and radar, forward collision warning sounds an audible alert when it detects an impending front crash. Many systems also include emergency braking in case the driver fails to respond to the warning.
High-Beam Assist: In vehicles with this system, the high beams remain on. The system automatically switches off the high beams when photosensors or a forward-pointed camera detects oncoming headlights or taillights. It automatically switches them back on when no vehicle lights are detected.
Lane-Departure Warning: A front-pointed camera monitors the defining lines on the pavement bordering your driving lane. When the system senses you are drifting over either line, an auditory warning sounds if you don’t engage a turn signal. More sophisticated systems with steering assist even nudge you back toward the center.
Lane-Following Assist: When the lane markings aren’t clearly defined, your vehicle maintains the same course as the vehicle preceding it.
Lane-Keeping Assist: LKA is similar to lane-departure systems with steering assist, except there is no auditory warning. Lane-keeping assist uses a forward-pointed camera to keep track of lane markings. It constantly initiates steering corrections, keeping you within the lane boundaries.
Self-Parking: Depending on the system, a self-parking system can parallel park or diagonally park the car with little input from the driver.
Parking Assist: Mounted on the rear and/or front bumper of a car, sensors sound an alarm when they detect a nearby object. More sophisticated systems also provide automatic braking.
Surround-View Camera: Sometimes called bird’s-eye-view or 360-degree monitoring, this is a series of at least four cameras, each taking the image of a different side of the vehicle. The system then knits the four images together, creating an image encompassing a few feet around the vehicle. A representation of the vehicle is dropped into the center of the image. This is helpful when maneuvering through tight spaces or parking.

Other Safety Features

Auto-Dimming Mirrors: Based on photosensors, they recognize bright headlights closing from behind, automatically dimming the reflection of those lights. Any of the rearview mirrors (inside and outboard) can have this feature.
Head-up Display (HUD): This is a display of key driver information projected onto the windshield just below the driver’s line of sight. The ability to check such information, for example, vehicle speed, keeps the driver’s eyes on the road versus glancing at the speedometer.
LED Headlights: LEDs illuminate a wider and longer area than regular incandescent or halogen lights. This also means they are easier for other drivers to see.
Rain-Sensing Wipers: This system automatically engages the wipers when it senses moisture on the windshield. The wiper speed adjusts to the volume of rain.
Rear-Seat Alert: This feature automatically sounds an auditory reminder or flashes an alert to an exiting driver to check the back seat for children, pets, and packages.

Crash Tests Basics

Here’s a crash course in crash tests.

IIHS

The IIHS performs a series of six crash/safety tests. The areas covered are a driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint.

In descending order, the scoring is Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor. Every pick on our list scored six for six Goods.

Beyond the crash tests, the IIHS evaluates headlights, vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention, and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash protection. Here the scoring is Superior, Advanced, and Basic. Moreover, the LATCH child-seat anchors are also evaluated.

Only models getting the highest marks in both the crash tests and the other evaluations earn the IIHS highest safety awards of Top Safety Pick (TSP) and Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+). Every model on our list has the IIHS TSP+ safety rating.

NHTSA

The NHTSA testing isn’t as involved as the IIHS. NHTSA performs front and side crash tests. The front test a is 35-mph crash into a fixed barrier. NHTSA combines the results of side-barrier and driver-door side-pole crash tests to arrive at the side test results. There is also a rollover aspect to the NHTSA scoring. It’s really an evaluation of the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. No crash test is performed.

NHTSA awards one to five stars each for front, side, and rollover scenarios. Five is the best score. NHTSA also issues an overall score. Every pick on this list boasts a 5-Star overall score. Where a 5-Star score isn’t the case, it’s because, for whatever reason, NHTSA hasn’t tested it. Six cars on our list fall into this category. We’ve included them on this list because we don’t think we should omit them for lack of NHTSA testing.

What are the Safest Cars?

We’ve included the base price, the model nameplate with the price of what we consider the best value with the most safety, and the combined city/highway mileage for the base engine at the top of each description. You will also find our Kelley Blue Book Expert Rating.

Note: Currently the new-car market is in a state of volatility because of the microchip shortage and supply-chain issues. Dealer inventories are tight and pricing is in constant flux. Our goal is to keep up with those price variations, updating stories with the latest price information as we discover it. However, these unannounced factory price hikes are difficult to track. In other words, the prices listed below are the most recent as of this writing. Moreover, you may find dealer markups on some models. Dealers add these charges to increase its profit on hard-to-get models.

2022 Acura TLX

Best Safety Value: $42,900 (Technology)

Base Price: $38,900 | Expert Rating: 4.2

Combined Fuel Economy: 25 mpg

The Acura TLX straddles the line between a compact and midsize sedan, which means it’s well suited to small families, empty nesters, and urban warriors. Although some may be disappointed by the fuel economy, the TLX shines where safety is concerned. The base ($38,900) version comes with eight airbags, LED exterior lights (headlights with auto on-off, taillights, and daytime running lights [DRLs]), and hill-start assist. Its safety and driver aids include lane-departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and Traffic Jam Assist. Adaptive cruise control and high-beam assist are standard as well.

Laying out another $4,000 for the Technology grade gains you blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and front-rear park assist. Because the Technology trim is loaded with other goodies like leather seating, navigation, and a 13-speaker audio system, we’d recommend upgrading to it to pick up the extra safety features. If you shell out $49,900 for the Advance grade, which requires adding all-wheel drive (SH-AWD), you add rain-sensing wipers, a windshield de-icer, a surround-view camera, and a head-up display.

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2022 Audi A6

Best Safety Value: $59,800 (Premium Plus)

Base Price: $55,900 | Expert Rating: 4.2

Combined Fuel Economy: 26 mpg

The Audi A6 is a luxurious German sedan that boasts one of the finest interiors in its segment. At its price point, you should expect no shortage of safety features, and the A6 doesn’t disappoint. Its base Premium ($55,900) trim level provides 10 airbags, auto-dimming rearview mirrors (dual outboard and interior), LED headlights and taillights, and high-beam assist. Among its advanced driver aids are forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and front-rear park assist.

We suggest taking a step up to the Premium Plus ($59,800). In addition to other upgrades, it gains you Traffic Jam Assist, left-turn assist with braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera. It also includes adaptive Matrix LED headlights with washers. Note: The A6 Allroad Quattro wagon did equally well in the IIHS and NHTSA tests.

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2022 Audi A7

Best Safety Value: $74,350 (Premium Plus)

Base Price: $69,200 | Expert Rating: 4.7

Combined Fuel Economy: 24 mpg

Sharing some DNA with the A6, the Audi A7 is really a luxury hatchback of sorts. It enjoys the benefit of Audi’s interior artistry with its high-end fixtures. Among our sought-after features are auto on-off LED headlights, LED taillights, high-beam assist, 10 airbags, front-rear park assist, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning are included as well.

You can add the $1,500 Convenience Package, which gains you blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera. Those features are standard on the $74,350 Premium Plus trim level, which also includes upgraded LED headlights, adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, and Active Lane Assist that can help the driver steer the car. A head-up display comes with the top-of-the-line Prestige trim. We’d go with the Premium Plus grade for the most safety value. Please note that the NHTSA hasn’t safety-rated the Audi A7.

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2022 Genesis G70

Best Safety Value: $37,775 (2.0T RWD Standard)

Base Price: $37,755 | Expert Rating: 4.3

Combined Fuel Economy: 24 mpg

The smallest entry in the Genesis stable, the G70 sedan matches a fun-to-drive attitude with a healthy helping of safety. The entry-level 2.0T RWD Standard comes with 10 airbags, LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs). High-beam assist, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are standard as well. Also included are forward collision warning with left-turning assist and automatic emergency braking, and lane-following assist. Lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, safe exit assist, adaptive cruise control, and driver-attention warning are also standard. Through the options list, you can add front and rear park assist and rain-sensing wipers in a package loaded with other goodies like leather seating for $4,000.

Moving up through the G70’s trim levels and option packages adds a surround-view camera and a head-up display. In terms of value, however, we’d stick with the base 2.0T RWD Standard. The IIHS TSP+ applies to all trim levels built after June 2021.

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2022 Genesis G80

Best Safety Value: $48,250 (2.5T RWD)

Base Price: $48,250 | Expert Rating: 3.3

Combined Fuel Economy: 26 mpg

This midsize luxury sedan shines for its value and advanced safety technologies. In its entry-level 2.5T trim, the Genesis G80 rolls right out of the box with nine airbags and LED exterior lights (headlights with auto on-off, DRLs, and taillights). Also included are rain-sensing wipers, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control. The bundle of driver aids adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and lane-following assist. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is also included.

If you are willing to pony up another $8,900, you can pick up the Prestige option package with a surround-view monitor, blind-spot view monitor, and automatic rear braking. Remote Smart Parking Assist is also included. Using the key fob, this feature allows you to finish parking your car in a tight spot from outside the car. For the money, we’d stay with the 2.5T without the option package.

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2022 Genesis G90

Best Safety Value: $75,525 (3.3T)

Base Price: $75,525 | Expert Rating: 4.4

Combined Fuel Economy: 19 mpg

Genesis builds a full-size luxury sedan, the G90, which provides a real value within its segment. Luxurious inside and out, the Genesis G90 costs thousands less than European rivals yet it offers a boatload of safety features. The entry-level 3.3T Premium in this 2-model lineup comes loaded with 10 airbags, rain-sensing wipers, and LED exterior lights (headlights with auto on-off, DRLs, and taillights). High-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display are also included.

Among the advanced driver aids are forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and safe exit assist. Also standard are automatic reverse braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. Highway Driving Assist is standard as well. It’s a semi-autonomous driver-assistance system that can accelerate, brake, and steer the car under certain conditions. What more do you need? The 3.3T is our recommendation.

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2022 Honda Accord

Best Safety Value: $26,520 (LX)

Base Price:  $26,520 | Expert Rating: 4.7

Combined Fuel Economy: 33 mpg

No discussion of midsize cars is complete without at least mentioning the Honda Accord. Rock-solid with a reputation for high resale values and safety, the Accord had to be on this list. Its base LX ($26,520) trim level comes with eight airbags, hill-start assist, and a rear-seat reminder. LED exterior lights (DRLs, taillights, and low-beam LED headlights with auto on-off) are also included. Advanced safety features are lane-departure warning with steering assist and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, and traffic-sign recognition are also standard.

Honda’s marketing strategy doesn’t include factory-installed options. You must move up to the appropriate trim level to gain more features. Stepping up to the EX-L ($32,840) grade gains you LED fog lights, upgraded LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. If picking up those few extra safety features is the reason for spending another $6,000, we don’t think it’s worth it. We recommend the LX.

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2022 Honda Civic

Best Safety Value: $22,550 (LX)

Base Price: $22,550 | Expert Rating: 4.7

Combined Fuel Economy: 35 mpg

Honda offers its Civic as a sedan and hatchback. All new for 2022, the sedan and hatchback both earned IIHS TSP+ awards. In addition, when NHTSA tested the Honda Civic sedan, hatchback, and Si, all achieved 5-Star overall ratings. The base LX ($22,550) comes with 10 airbags, LED headlights and taillights, rear-seat reminder, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control. Standard driver aids are lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and Traffic Jam Assist. Lane-departure warning with steering assist is also included.

Moving up to the EX ($25,550) adds blind-spot monitoring and traffic-sign recognition. Moving up to the top-of-the-line Touring ($29,150) gains you LED fog lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, rear cross-traffic alert, and front-rear park assist. Although there are features we want in the EX and Touring, like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, we wouldn’t pay thousands more for them. We’d stick with the LX.

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2022 Honda Insight

Best Safety Value: $25,760 (EX)

Base Price: $25,760 | Expert Rating: 4.1

Combined Fuel Economy: 52 mpg

The Honda Insight is a Civic-like hybrid. It’s characterized by its affordable pricing, excellent fuel economy, and roomy interior. The entry-level EX ($25,760) comes with LED exterior lights (headlights with auto on-off, taillights, and DRLs) and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Also included are lane-departure warning, road-departure warning with steering assist, and lane-keeping assist. Adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist are standard, as well.

Moving up to the Touring grade will cost $29,790. It gains you rain-sensing wipers, LED fog lights, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Our recommendation is to stay with the EX and save yourself $4,000.

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2022 Kia K5

Best Safety Value: $24,790 (LXS)

Base Price: $23,790 | Expert Rating: 4.3

Combined Fuel Economy: 31 mpg

In assuming the Optima’s role in Kia’s lineup, the Kia K5 has big shoes to fill. It is doing so brilliantly. Either from the curb or one of its five seating positions, it seems like a much more expensive sedan. The base LX grade’s safety features include nine airbags, LED headlights with auto on-off, LED DRLs, high-beam assist, and hill-start assist. Rear-seat alert and safe-exit rear passenger alert are included, too. Among its advanced driver aids are lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, and Lead Vehicle Departure Alert which signals when the car in front has moved. Also included is forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and driver-attention warning.

Kia offers an auto-dimming rearview mirror bundled with a HomeLink transceiver for $350. As generous as the LX’s safety features are, we recommend stepping up a notch to the LXS ($24,790). That extra grand gains you blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and pedestrian front-collision mitigation. If you step up to the EX ($28,690) grade you add rear-park assist. Opting for the $3,600 EX Premium Package brings with it a surround-view camera, LED taillights, left-turn assist with automatic braking, front-park assist, and semi-autonomous driver assistance. We’d pick the LXS.

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2022 Kia Stinger

Best Safety Value: $36,290 (GT-Line)

Base Price: $36,290 | Expert Rating: 4.3

Combined Fuel Economy: 25 mpg

With its performance reputation, the Kia Stinger probably isn’t the first sedan popping into your mind when talking about safe cars. However, Kia added several of our must-have safety features to the Stinger for 2022. It’s now downright civilized. The entry-level GT-Line comes with seven airbags, LED exterior lights (taillights, auto on-off headlights, and DRLs), hill-start assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and high-beam assist. Standard in every Stinger are forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Also included are lane-following assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

You can add an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink transceiver for an extra $350. Stepping up to the GT2 ($51,490) not only gains you the twin-turbo V6 but a few additional safety features. They include upgraded projection LED headlights, adaptive headlights that bend as the front wheels turn, and a surround-view camera. A head-up display is standard, as well. We recommend sticking with the GT-Line and maybe picking up the auto-dimming rearview mirror.

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2022 Lexus ES

Best Safety Value: $46,150 (ES 250 + options)

Base Price: $42,025 | Expert Rating: 4.8

Combined Fuel Economy: 28 mpg

When it comes to quiet, comfy luxury rides, the Lexus ES fits the bill. It’s all about ride quality, convenience, and, of course, safety. Among the safety features in the base ES 250 ($42,025) are 10 airbags, bi-LED headlights, LED DRLs, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and road-sign assist. Also included are blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, left-turn assist with automatic braking, and high-beam assist. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are standard, as well.

You can add the Premium Package ($2,410), including rain-sensing wipers and front-rear park assist with braking. Premium Triple-Beam LED Headlights ($1,215) and a head-up display ($500) are stand-alone options. You must step up to the Ultra Luxury ($51,205) to gain a surround-view camera. We’d go with the ES 250 plus the listed options.

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2022 Lexus IS

Best Safety Value: $42,815 (IS 300 + options)

Base Price: $40,200 | Expert Rating: 4.0

Combined Fuel Economy: 25 mpg

The Lexus IS rolls in the company of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. However, Lexus managed to juggle performance and uber safety in this small performance sedan. Standard safety features in the base 300 ($40,200) include 10 airbags, an auto-dimming driver-side outboard rearview mirror, and LED exterior lights (tail lights, auto on-off headlights, and DRLs). Also included are lane-departure warning with steering assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Left-turn assist with automatic braking, lane-tracing assist, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control are standard, as well.

We think the IS 300 has a solid bundle of driver aids. However, we recommend adding the Premium triple-beam LED headlights ($1,250) and the Panoramic View Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist ($1,365). It’s basically a surround-view monitor with front-rear park assist with automatic braking.

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2022 Mazda3

Best Safety Value: $23,450 (Select)

Base Price: $21,150 | Expert Rating: 4.0

Combined Fuel Economy: 30 mpg

Mazda offers its Mazda3 in sedan and hatchback configurations. Both did equally well in IIHS and NHTSA testing. The base 2.0 sedan is a steal at $21,150. It comes with eight airbags, LED exterior lights (auto-on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs), rain-sensing wipers, and an impressive bundle of advanced driver aids. They include lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. High-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, and driver-attention warning are also included.

Stepping up a couple of grades to the Select ($23,450) trim adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. From there, you must leapfrog a couple of more trim levels to the Premium ($27,700) to add adaptive headlights and traffic-sign recognition. We don’t think either of which is worth the additional $4,000. Nope, the Select trim is the way to go.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Best Safety Value: $59,300 (E350 + options)

Base Price: $54,950 | Expert Rating: 4.7

Combined Fuel Economy: 26 mpg

Mercedes-Benz offers its E-Class as a sedan, coupe, station wagon, and convertible. Only the sedan qualifies for this list. NHTSA gave the sedan and wagon five stars, but the IIHS has only evaluated the sedan. Anchoring the lineup, the E 350 ($54,950) comes with seven airbags, LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs), high-beam assist, rear fog lights, and rain-sensing wipers. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is standard, too. Among its driver aids are driver-attention warning, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

Pony up another $2,400 for the Premium Package and you’ll add active parking assist that can park the car without driver assistance, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera. For another $1,950, you can add the Driver Assistance Package. It gains you a grocery list of features like active steering assist, automatic reverse braking, adaptive cruise control, and a lot more. We’d stick with the E 350 and add both option packages.

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2022 Nissan Altima

Best Safety Value: $27,700 (SV + Premium Pkg)

Base Price: $24,900 | Expert Rating: 4.1

Combined Fuel Economy: 31 mpg

As midsize sedans go, the Nissan Altima is a solid middle-of-the-road player in a segment dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It looks good in a driveway and performs well on the road. Its base S ($24,900) is priced well below the two named rivals but it isn’t quite as well outfitted. Its safety features from our list are pretty much limited to 10 airbags and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. High-beam assist and lane-departure warning are also included. A driver-attention alert system is standard, as well. At the bargain price of $475, you can add blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, and rear-park assist.

The S optional safety features are standard on the SV ($25,900). Nissan offers an SV Premium Package ($1,800) that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and ProPilot. It’s Nissan’s semi-autonomous driver-assistance system that can accelerate, brake, and steer the car under certain conditions. You must step all the way up to the all-wheel-drive Platinum ($34,600) to gain the surround-view camera. We’d go with the SV grade plus its Premium Package.

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2022 Nissan Maxima

Best Safety Value: $43,000 (SR)

Base Price: $37,840 | Expert Rating: 3.9

Combined Fuel Economy: 24 mpg

A cross between a family hauler and a sportster, the Nissan Maxima racks up high safety marks from IIHS and NHTSA. In its entry-level SV ($37,840) trim, it provides 10 airbags, LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs) and high-beam assist. Also standard are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition, rear automatic braking, and driver-alert warning are also included.

Taking a step up to the SR ($43,000) gains you LED fog lights, a surround-view camera, front-rear park assist, and lane-departure warning with steering assist, among lots of other goodies. Although $5,000 separates the base SV from the SR trim, we’d recommend picking the SR to gain the surround-view camera and front-rear park assist.

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2022 Subaru BRZ

Best Safety Value: $32,295 (Limited + automatic transmission)

Base Price: $27,995 | Expert Rating: 4.4

Combined Fuel Economy: 25 mpg

Unrated by NHTSA, the BRZ breaks with Subaru pedigree with its rear-wheel drive. Completely redesigned for 2022, the updated BRZ continues its mission as a sporty driver engineered to tame twisty two-lanes. Subaru doesn’t adorn it with safety features in BRZ’s Premium entry-level state. In fact, beyond auto on-off LED headlights, and seven airbags, the BRZ doesn’t claim any of our sought-after safety features. (To earn the IIHS TSP+ rating, the BRZ requires the 6-speed automatic transmission.)

You must pony up the extra $1,600 for the automatic transmission to also gain the EyeSight Driver Assist bundle of safety features and high-beam assist. EyeSight includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-centering, and lane-departure warning.

Stepping up to the Limited ($30,495), you add adaptive LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Here again, you must opt for the automatic transmission ($1,800) to add high-beam assist and the EyeSight bundle. We think the adaptive headlights and advanced safety features make the Limited with the automatic transmission the way to go.

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2022 Subaru Legacy

Best Safety Value: $27,010 (Premium + options)

Base Price: $23,495 | Expert Rating: 4.0

Combined Fuel Economy: 30 mpg

No matter the trim level, every Legacy comes standard with AWD. The Subaru Legacy blends a roomy cabin with impressive fuel economy and a go-just-about-anywhere attitude. It won’t win a beauty contest and its base grade only features a handful of features from our safety checklist. They include eight airbags, LED headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-centering assist.

We recommend you step up a notch to the Premium grade ($25,745). That alone doesn’t increase the safety features. However, spending another $1,000 on option package OP 13 gains you blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and LED fog lights, among other goodies. Another $265 gets you an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

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Tesla Model 3

Best Safety Value: $46,190 (Standard Range Plus)

Base Price: $46,190 | Expert Rating: 4.2

Combined Fuel Economy: 132 MPGe

The fully electric Tesla Model 3 is as safe as it is quiet. Anchoring the model lineup is the Standard Range Plus. It comes with eight airbags, rain-sensing wipers, LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs), and front-rear park assist. Also included are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Rounding out the advanced driver aids are adaptive cruise control and high-beam assist.

Moving up to either of the upper two trim levels won’t gain you any real ground on safety features. They basically just add more performance. However, you can pony up another $10,000 for the Enhanced AutoPilot with what Tesla calls “Full Self-Driving Capability.”

In addition to accelerating, braking, and steering the car in certain situations, it includes automatic lane changing, self-parking, and remote parking. Automatic traffic light and stop sign response and automatic navigation are also part of the package. Although it sounds like a lot of fun, we’re not convinced it makes the Model 3 any safer. We’d stick with the vanilla Standard Range Plus.

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2022 Toyota Camry

Best Safety Value: $27,125 (LE + BSM with options)

Base Price: $25,845 | Expert Rating: 4.5

Combined Fuel Economy: 32 mpg

Few sedans in history have achieved the success and positive reputation of the Toyota Camry. It checks all the boxes as a family hauler. Comfortable, safe, fuel-efficient, and reliable, it comes right out of the box with Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5+. It contains forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning with steering assist. Also standard are 10 airbags, adaptive cruise control, lane-tracing assist, and high-beam assist. Not only are LED headlights standard but so are LED taillights and DRLs.

You can stick with the base LE, adding the Blind Spot Monitor with options, a $1,280 package that includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and more. That is your best safety value.

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2022 Toyota Corolla

Best Safety Value: $22,025 (LE + Convenience Pkg)

Base Price: $20,425 | Expert Rating: 4.4

Combined Fuel Economy: 33 mpg

Doing equally well in IIHS and NHTSA testing, the Toyota Corolla sedan and hatchback qualify for this list. Corolla remains the best-selling nameplate in history and for good reason: value. For its price, the base L grade provides a remarkable number of our recommended safety features. Among them are LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs) 10 airbags, and Safety Sense 2.0. It includes high-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic-sign assist. Forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and lane-tracing assist are also part of the standard safety package. As is lane-keeping assist.

The LE offers blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert as a feature in its $1,150 LE Convenience Package. That safety option becomes standard beginning with XLE, which also adds upgraded LED headlights. XLE gains adaptive headlights on its options list. However, we would go with the LE plus the Convenience Package.

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2022 Volvo S60/S60 Recharge

Best Safety Value: $41,200 (Momentum + Premium Pkg)

Base Price: $39,250 | Expert Rating: 3.9

Combined Fuel Economy: 30 mpg/69 MPGe

The Volvo S60 is a mild hybrid (MHEV) while the S60 Recharge is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Even in its entry-level Momentum grade, the S60 is loaded with features from our safety list. Eight airbags, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, all three rearview mirrors are auto dimming, and high-beam assist are standard. The Momentum also comes with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, rear-park assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

For $1,950, you can add the Premium Package that gains you front-park assist, LED fog lights with bending, and more. You could also add the Advanced Package ($4,200), which includes a head-up display, a surround-view camera, and the semi-autonomous driver-assistance system. Under certain conditions, it can accelerate, steer and brake the car. We would stay with the Momentum with the Premium Package. The S60 and S60 Recharge did equally well in IIHS testing.

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2022 Volvo S90/S90 Recharge

Best Safety Value: $53,750 (Momentum + Advanced Pkg)

Base Price: $51,850 | Expert Rating 3.9

Combined Fuel Economy: 26 mpg/66 MPGe

NHTSA hasn’t tested the 2022 Volvo S90 or the S90 Recharge yet. However, both earned the IIHS TSP+ accolade. The S90 is a mild hybrid (MHEV) and the S90 Recharge is a PHEV. All-wheel drive is standard for both. Among our recommended safety features in the base Momentum trim are LED exterior lights (auto on-off adaptive headlights, taillights, fog lights with bending, and DRLs). Other features include auto-dimming mirrors (rearview and outboard), seven airbags, and high-beam assist.

These Volvos come standard with advanced safety tech including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist with steering, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, and Pilot Assist that helps the driver accelerate, steer, and brake the car are standard, as well. A $1,900 Advanced Package gains several features including a head-up display and surround-view camera. Our recommendation is the Momentum trim with the Advanced Package.

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2022 Volvo V60 Cross Country/V60 Recharge

Best Safety Value: $47,600 (Cross Country + Advanced Pkg)

Base Price: $45,700 | Expert Rating: 3.2

Combined Fuel Economy: 25 mpg/69 MPGe

Determining which Volvo V60 trim is the safest is easy because there is only one trim level. Likewise, for the V60 Recharge. The V60 sources its thrust from a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The V60 Recharge ($69,090) is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Both have the same safety ratings. Standard fare helping the V60 make this list includes seven airbags, adaptive LED headlights, and LED fog lights with bending. Other key features are auto-dimming mirrors (inside rearview and outboard), hill-descent control, and high-beam assist.

Among the advanced driver’s aids are forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard. We’d recommend picking up the $1,900 Advanced Package with a head-up display, surround-view camera, and the Pilot Assist Driver Assistance system. It’s a semi-autonomous driving aid that can accelerate, brake, and steer the vehicle under certain conditions.

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2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country

Best Safety Value: $56,900 (Cross Country + Advanced Pkg)

Base Price: $55,200 | Expert Rating: 4.2

Combined Fuel Economy: 25 mpg

NHTSA hasn’t crash-tested the Volvo V90. A mild hybrid, the V90 also comes standard with all-wheel drive. Picking the best safety value for the V90 is a cakewalk: It only offers one grade. Standard are auto on-off adaptive headlights, high-beam assist, LED fog lights with Cornering, rain-sensing wipers, and seven airbags. Among the advanced driver aids are adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning. Also included are lane-keeping assist with steering, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, and Pilot Assist.

To the V90’s healthy bundle of safety technologies, you can add the Advanced Package ($1,700). It gains you a surround-view camera and a head-up display, among other extra features.

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IIHS TSP Award Winners

Every year, the IIHS gives out awards to the safest vehicles, based on how they perform in the institute’s test. There are two tiers of awards: Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) and Top Safety Pick (TSP). Here is a list of the cars that earned TSP accolades, as well as NHTSA 5-Star ratings.

MAKE AND MODEL
IIHS
NHTSA

2022 Audi A4*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Audi A5*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 BMW 2 Series*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 BMW 3 Series*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Hyundai Elantra*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Hyundai Sonata*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Nissan Sentra*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Subaru Impreza*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Toyota Avalon*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Volkswagen Arteon*
TSP
5 Stars

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI*
TSP
Not yet rated

* Requires specific features

Read Related Vehicle Safety Stories:

Safety Study: SUVs, Pickups More Likely to Hit, Kill Pedestrians When Turning
Safety Group: Pedestrian Detection Systems Don’t Work As Well At Night
Coming Soon: Safety Ratings for Safety Systems

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