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2021 is already shaping up to be a great year for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, which has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ award, the highest safety award a vehicle can receive from the organization. Mercedes-Benz, of course, has a long history of emphasis on safety, which makes it no surprise that four of their vehicles make an appearance on this IIHS list.

How did the Mercedes-Benz E-Class score in safety tests?

Gray Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class four-door fastback on display at Brussels Expo
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class earns top marks from the IIHS thanks to its ratings of at least “good” on six different tests of crashworthiness: driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

To get the coveted “+” added to the award, a vehicle must also be available with a front crash prevention system rated advanced or superior in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Its headlights must also be rated “good” or “acceptable” across all trims and packages. Thus, the E-Class vehicles getting the bonus “+” label are those featuring Mercedes’ Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function. 

The E-Class scored very highly on nearly all safety tests, taking home the top rating of “good” in the vast majority of categories. These included categories such as front and rear passenger injury measures, driver injury measures, and structure and safety cage.

Where the E-Class fell slightly short, however, was in the area of passenger restraints and dummy kinematics, in which it achieved a slightly lower rating of “Acceptable.” IIHS explains that this rating was due to the fact that the test dummy’s head moved too far to the right in a simulated crash, indicating the potential for a neck injury. 

What is Mercedes’ Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function?

Mercedes’ Active Brake Assist with Cross Traffic Function is an example of a relatively recent innovation in the automotive industry: automatic emergency braking.

MotorTrend explains that these sorts of systems automatically engage the brakes whenever a potential collision is detected, in the event that the driver doesn’t do so in time. While all automatic emergency braking systems can detect the presence of other vehicles, only certain vehicles, such as some members of the Mercedes E-Class, can also detect the presence of pedestrians in order to brake when needed. 

The E-Class models featuring Cross-Traffic Function achieved superior ratings, thanks to their ability to detect pedestrians on the side of the road. Models without that function, however, achieved just a basic rating, due to their unreliability in detecting pedestrians. 

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class safety features don’t end there


Make the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Your First Used Luxury Car

With all the safety features and technological advantages that come with the 2021 Mercedes E-Class, it’s no wonder that Car and Driver included it on its Editors’ Choice List. In addition to the braking and crash test ratings mentioned above, the E-Class features anti-lock brakes, as well as driving aids such as a lane-departure warning to help keep you on the road and lane-keeping assist to make sure you don’t drift into the path of another vehicle.

What’s more, Mercedes-Benz’s adaptive cruise control features automatically adjusts your speed to the flow of traffic, reducing the potential for human error that has often existed with traditional cruise control.

Blind-spot assist is also an important safety feature. It uses a series of cameras and sensors to monitor spaces up to 10 ft behind and beside your vehicle. When another vehicle is detected in the blind spot area while you’re traveling over 18 mph, a red triangle will appear in your driver’s side mirror, alerting you to the potential danger. And as if that’s not enough, stability control is there to prevent rollovers in the event it’s needed. 

All in all, the Mercedes E-Class has earned its place at the top of the 2021 list of safe vehicles. Consumers in the market for a top-end vehicle full of safety options will not be disappointed in the 2021 E-Class.