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The midsize car segment is full of dependable, affordable options. However, style and sensibility only go so far, and the latest safety data suggests that a handful of midsize cars could be dangerous in a collision. According to the latest test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2023 Hyundai Sonata, Kia K5, and Volkswagen Jetta underperformed in crashworthiness. 

Which midsize cars drop the ball when it comes to safety?

Of the most popular midsize cars in the North American market, the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia K5 got the least confidence-inspiring scores. Specifically, the three sedans earned “Poor” overall ratings. 

Make and modelOverall ratingStructure and safety cageDriver restraints and kinematicsRear passenger restraints and kinematics
2023 Volkswagen JettaPoorGoodGoodAcceptable
2023 Hyundai SonataPoorGoodGoodPoor
2023 Kia K5PoorGood GoodPoor
2023 Honda AccordGoodGoodGoodGood
2023 Subaru OutbackAcceptableGoodGoodPoor
2023 Nissan AltimaMarginalGoodGoodPoor
2023 Toyota CamryMarginalGoodGoodPoor

Unfortunately for sedan shoppers with a tight budget, the K5 and Sonata are also two of the most affordable cars in the segment, starting at around $26,415 and $26,565, respectively. Still, the three models’ crashworthiness scores are sobering for safety-minded consumers. 

For instance, the IIHS reports that the K5 and Sonata earned “Poor” ratings in three of four rear-passenger injury metric categories, suggesting that the cars are dangerous in a rear-end collision. Furthermore, the stylish 2023 Volkswagen Jetta received a “Poor” rating in many of the same categories as the Kia and Hyundai sedans, save for an “Acceptable” rating in the Rear-Passenger Restratings and Kinematics metrics. 

How did the midsize cars do in NHTSA testing?

A gray 2023 Hyundai Sonata shows off its rear-end styling.
2023 Hyundai Sonata | Hyundai

Despite the gloomy scorecards from the IIHS, the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia K5 got much higher ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Specifically, all three models earned five-star overall ratings from the NHTSA, despite four-star frontal crash ratings. 

What is the safest midsize car to drive?

The latest IIHS data shows that the 2023 Honda Accord earned the highest ratings in individual crashworthiness subcategories. Moreover, the Accord is one of three midsize cars with a 2023 Top Safety Pick+ rating, alongside the Subaru Outback and Toyota Camry.  

Are midsize cars safer than small cars?

A set of blue and red 2023 Volkswagen Jetta show off their midsize car platforms in a warehouse.
2023 Volkswagen Jetta | Volkswagen

While plenty of small cars earned Top Safety Pick ratings from the IIHS, only one currently holds a 2023 Top Safety Pick+: the Acura Integra. Conversely, three midsize sedans earned the top accolades from the IIHS.


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