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Vehicle Safety: Which Cars Rank the Highest?

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When buying a car, or driving down an open highway, safety trumps style and speed. Safety features can dictate how a car is marketed, its price and the cost of insurance. In addition, it offers peace of mind to the driver and passengers and can save lives. The Honda Accord, Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima are three vehicles that are consistently found at the top of safety rankings.

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Common Safety Features

Every car should come equipped with standard safety features: airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, electronic stability control, and safety belts. Newer models could also include modern safety features like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot and forward-collision warning. Extra safety features are available on most new vehicles and are always worth the cost.

Safety Rankings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ranks popular vehicles on their performance in safety testing that determined its crashworthiness (a vehicle’s ability to protect its passengers) and crash avoidance (the vehicle’s available technology to prevent crashes or mitigate their severity). The IIHS actually crash tests vehicles to see how each aspect of the body and interior is equipped to withstand impact. Testing is done on one type of vehicle and that rating is applied to other vehicles built on the same platform.

While the IIHS is a U.S. organization, their rankings and safety testing are accepted in Canada. Currently, there is no Canadian equivalent.

Here are a few examples of top safety picks based on IIHS safety rankings for 2018. Read the full list for all the models and more information on how tests are performed and rated.

Small Cars

  • Chevrolet Volt (with optional front crash prevention)

Mid-sized Cars

  • Honda Accord (specific headlights)

Midsize Luxury Cars

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

Large Luxury Cars

  • Acura RLX

Small SUVs

  • Honda CR-V (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

Midsize SUVs

  • Honda Pilot (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

Midsize luxury SUVs

  • Acura MDX


  • Chrysler Pacifica (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

In recent years, the IIHS raised their safety standard. This immediately excluded several vehicles from being considered for their safety awards. The goal, though, is for more vehicles to be considered as manufacturers invest more resources into the research and development of enhanced safety features.

A review of each vehicle’s safety features reveals what makes them the safest cars on the road in Canada.

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is regularly found at the top of safety lists, which is a good thing since it is one of the most popular cars in Ontario. In addition to a sophisticated controlled braking system, which includes a 4-wheel anti-lock braking system and electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, the 2018 Honda Accord features:

  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Hill Start Assists
  • Stability Assist with Traction Control
  • Automatic high beam

The Honda Accord also features advanced child safety features such as child-proof rear door locks and the LATCH system.

Mazda 6

The Mazda 6 is a well-engineered vehicle, and its ingenuity extends to an array of impressive safety features. Designed with intuitive safety features and heightened response, the vehicle automatically acts in response to detected danger.

The newest Mazda 6 includes the following safety features:

  • Cruise control that keeps a safe distance
  • Smart Brake Support (alerts the driver and applies the brakes prior to an impending collision)
  • Smart City Brake Support (detects objects ahead of vehicle and adjusts brake pads)
  • Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring System
  • Lane-keep Assist System (performs steering correction once it detects the vehicle veering)

Even the interiors are made of a material that absorbs road noise, minimizing driver distraction. The Mazda 6’s safety components are state-of-the-art but its performance during safety testing still trails the Honda Accord by a slim margin.

Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima scores very high in the IIHS’ crash test ratings and overall safety testing. It rated as “good” for moderate overlap front test results, side impact test results, rear crash protection results, roof strength test results and moderate overlap front test results. Overall, The Altima doesn’t offer many of the inventive features found in the Accord or Mazda 6. Still, it has been given the stamp of safety approval.

The Altima safety features include:

  • 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Traction Control

Most impressive is the Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield Technologies. The Safety Shield utilizes radar technology to gauge the proximity between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. It provides audible and visual warnings. If a driver does not respond, the AEB system activates the brakes.

Accidents can Happen

Even if you have the safest car on the road loaded with extra features, accidents can still happen. Every driver is at the mercy of harsh weather conditions and sharing the road with other drivers and less safe vehicles.

If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Mackesy Smye. Our experienced team can help with every facet of your case and will work to make sure you receive the damages you deserve.

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If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, and have sustained injuries, contact us for a no-obligation consultation to review the details of your case. Complete our secure online contact form, or call us at 1-905-525-2341 today.

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