Safety is no longer a backburner priority for new-car shoppers. Across most types of vehicle shoppers, it’s one of the top concerns. Many families, as we recommend, start their shopping process by weeding out potential vehicles that simply don’t make the cut in occupant safety. However, in 2015 that’s less straightforward than it’s been in the past. There are so many five-star government safety ratings;so many well-stocked safety feature lists, and so many top safety picks from the Federal Road Safety Commission that it’s hard to filter out those that are the best from those that are merely better than average.
2015 Subaru Legacy
“The Legacy has pegged the Top Safety Pick+ meter, and it’s a perfect five-star performer.” The 2015 Subaru Legacy achieves top-notch results in every single category. What makes it stand out, even above other models that achieve the same, is that it’s also one of the few models to manage the ‘Superior’ front crash prevention rating when equipped with the optional EyeSight system. Even better, we think, is that you don’t have to go for the most expensive model in the line-up to get that potential life-saver; it’s available on the affordable premium models, where you can add it and get a sedan with things like Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, lane-departure alert, adaptive cruise control, and a system that can brake you to a stop short of an imminent collision in some cases, or lessen the severity of one by reducing speeds.
2015 Volvo S60
“The 2015 Volvo S60 has strong crash-test scores and an impressive array of electronic safety systems.” Going by test results and crash-test ratings, the 2015 Volvo S60 could be the safest car on the market. It’s the paragon of safety if you place a lot of emphasis on crash-test results, with a perfect flush of five-star ratings in every single area. And there’s a lot of active safety on offer, if you’re willing to check a few option boxes. It’s also for years been one of the top performers, with some of the lowest rates of injury related insurance losses among luxury sedans.
2015 Hyundai Genesis
“With respect to active-safety features, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis has now caught up to the best from Germany, Japan, or Detroit.” The Genesis serves as the flagship luxury model for Hyundai’s range of vehicles, but it deserves to make shoppers’ shortlists as much for safety as for features and creature comforts, The Automatic Emergency Braking system that’s available in the Genesis, as part of the Technology Package, is one of the few active-safety systems to be rated as ‘Superior’ in testing. Furthermore, the fully optioned Genesis has a critical mass of active-safety items (what Hyundai calls the Sensory Surround Safety System), including things like Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Lane Change Assist (LCA)—as well as Lane Keep Assist (LKA), which will actually make mild steering corrections to help keep you in your lane if attention lapses.
2015 Mazda CX-5
“The CX-5 is a safety superstar, with excellent crash-test ratings and an advanced forward-collision warning system.” Going by crash-test results, the 2015 Mazda CX-5 is the top performer in its class, with five stars in all the federal crash categories, as well as top ‘good’ results in every single category— and the ‘Advanced’ rating for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional Smart City Brake Support, which will brake you automatically for hazards at speeds ranging from 4 to 19 mph.
To get that feature, you do need to step-up to the top-of-theline Grand Touring model an its Technology Package. 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class “The 2015 M-Class has some standout active-safety features, as well as top-tier crash-test ratings.” Mercedes-Benz has, for decades, made some of the vehicles with the lowest rates of fatality and injury.
Relatively few of its current models have been rated by both U.S. agencies—which keeps more of them from being given a perfect ‘10’ in safety—but the M-Class stands as an exception. It’s earned top ratings in both crash-test protocols, and its set of active-safety items is one of the best in its class. Collision Prevention Assist is a standard feature on the M-Class, as is Attention Assist, which can warn you if it thinks you’re too drowsy. Add the optional Pre- Safe Brake feature that’s part of the Driver Assistance Package, and you add even more accidentprevention odds improvement. With it, the M-Class earns a ‘Superior’ rating.
By the way, there’s change in store for this model line, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of safety. Look for the upcoming 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLEClass to continue the M-Class form factor (and its underpinnings), albeit with new badging, a refreshed cabin and other enhancements.