You’re No. 1 priority as a driver? Keeping yourself and everyone else in your vehicle safe. With decades of advances in engineering, design, and safety features, that is now easier than ever. But, still, some vehicles simply outshine the others.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released their top safety picks for the 2015 model year, which tests a vehicle’s crashworthiness. In other words, the IIHS does the dirty work to see which vehicles excel at protecting their occupants in the event of a collision, and doll out awards and ratings to the best and brightest. In addition to crashworthiness, vehicles are tested on their front crash avoidance systems, which can automatically warn drivers of an impending collision.
The winners receive the IIHS’s vaunted “Top Safety Pick” designation, which has been handed out annually since the 2006 model year. There are also models that earn themselves an even greater honor, the storied “Top Safety Pick +.” Those models, the IIHS says, “earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners with optional front crash prevention qualify for the higher award only when equipped with the technology.”
Here, we’ll look at large family and luxury cars that earned the 2015 top safety pick awards. Again, these designation are assigned by the agency, which looks at cars of several different segments. The following cars are only from the large car category. Read on to see the seven winners for 2015.
1. Toyota Avalon
The only Top Safety Pick in the large family car subset, Toyota’s Avalon gets good markings across the board from the IIHS’ crash tests. The biggest car in the Toyota family comes with a number of safety features, including electronic stability control, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and side airbags, making it particularly safe for two-person drives. A great pick for the cost-conscious family in need of a safe car.
2. Acura RLX
The Acura RLX, when equipped with optional front crash prevention systems, earns itself a Top Safety Pick+ designation for the 2015 model year. The RLX gets top ratings across the board from the IIHS crash tests, and its rollover sensor feature give it an edge over cars like the Toyota Avalon. The RLX is one of the safest large luxury cars on the market and is ideal for those who hold safety as a top concern.
3. Hyundai Genesis
Another member of the large luxury car segment, Hyundai’s Genesis has earned itself a Top Safety Pick+ badge for 2015. Though Hyundai models aren’t typically classified as luxury cars, the Genesis is sort of in a league of its own, having more in common with vehicles from Lexus or Acura than with some of its own corporate siblings. The IIHS rates the Genesis’s front crash prevention system as superior and also gives a nod the car’s long list of standard safety features.
4. Infiniti Q70
If you haven’t noticed, it’s a particularly strong year for luxury cars in terms of safety ratings. Case in point, the Infiniti Q70 has also earned a Top Safety Pick+ adornment from the IIHS, when the model is equipped with the optional front crash prevention system. There is a note, however, that should be taken into account. The IIHS says that the safety pick does not apply to models that boast a V8 engine, or have four-wheel drive.
5. Lexus RC
Another luxury car that wins a Top Safety Pick+ moniker when coupled with a front crash prevention system is the Lexus RC. This doesn’t apply to RC variants, like the RC F Sport, but to the standard RC model. The RC is, in many ways, a lot like the Toyota Avalon, which is its corporate cousin. They share many of the same safety features, though the RC does have its crash prevention system rated as advanced, rather than basic, for the Avalon.
6. Mercedes E-Class
Take a Mercedes E-Class sedan, augment it with a front crash prevention system, and you’ve got a recipe for a Top Safety Pick+ award winner. The E-Class receives top crash ratings in every category, and has a front crash prevention system rated as superior by the organization. Big advantages that Mercedes included on its list of safety features are the rollover sensor and automatically adjusting head restraints.
7. Volvo S80
Hailing from Sweden, Volvo’s S80 sedan is the final Top Safety Pick+ award-winner for 2015, as designated by the IIHS. The S80’s front crash prevention system is rated superior, and it also comes with optional built-in child restraints, making it an exceptionally attractive option for families.