Only 2 Large Cars Are a TOP SAFETY PICK+ According to the IIHS

SUVs may seem like the safest choices to bolster on-road safety. With their significant architecture and general heaviness, there’s no question shoppers would flock to larger vehicles. Yet, sedans have had to keep up with the widespread fondness for SUVs. Cars are now exposed to new and improved crash safety tests to keep their drivers and passengers safe.

Excellent crash test results alone, however, don’t stack up to award-winning safety characteristics. Luckily, safety features once seen only in top-of-the-line trim levels have found their way into base models. Due to these factors, the 2022 Kia Stinger and 2023 Volkswagen Arteon have been designated a TOP SAFETY PICK+.

A pair of 2022 Kia Stinger models parked in the dessert are a Top Safety Pick+.
2022 Kia Stingers | Kia

What is a TOP SAFETY PICK+?

Existing separately from the U.S. government’s National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While the NHTSA has a five-star safety assessment, the IIHS specifies its safest selection as a TOP SAFETY PICK+.

According to Car Connection, vehicles must score “Good” on each of the IIHS’s six-part safety assessments. Although automotive innovations are leading to new tests assessing car seat latches and curve-adapting headlights, the foundational IIHS analyses are:

  • Head-on collision testing with another vehicle
  • Driver-side front overlap collision testing with a stationary object
  • Passenger-side front overlap collision testing with a stationary object
  • Rollover body strength and occupant protection
  • The integrity of head restraints and seats
  • Side impact tests to simulate collisions with larger vehicles

2022 Kia Stinger 

Kia’s barnstorming sport sedan, pitted against the likes of BMW’s 3 Series and Audi’s A4, has surprised many. With its agile handling and sprint-style speed, many have overlooked its outstanding safety features. The IIHS awarded the Stinger top marks in all six base categories, and the Kia has just a few minor shortcomings.

The Stinger’s two rear seating positions, complete with child seat attachments, have three tether anchors but were minimally rated. The IIHS tested a Genesis G70—structurally similar to the Stinger—proving only average in torso protection in side-impact tests. Moreover, the institute was more impressed with the Stinger’s lower trim level LED reflector headlights over the GT2’s LED projector headlights.

Standard on the base Kia Stinger is a plethora of safety features. Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping and Lane Following Assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance all grace the GT-Line Stinger. Higher priced trim levels gain a Blind-Sport View Monitor and surround view monitor but interestingly lose the Rear Parking Distance Warning. All trim levels are an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+, and the base model Kia Stinger starts at $36,590.

RELATED: How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2022 Kia Stinger Cost?

2023 Volkswagen Arteon

A red 2023 VW Arteon driving in the fall is one of the safest cars.
VW Arteon | Volkswagen

As the largest of Volkswagen’s sedans, the Arteon is a sleek, sophisticated, and specifically safe pick for shoppers. The IIHS awarded the Arteon top marks in all six categories, but it does have a few minimal faults. Driver restraints did not achieve the best rating but are as safe as any other car. In the side-impact test, the Volkswagen accomplished a standard rating for driver torso, pelvis, and leg protection. The Arteon scored the same as the Stinger for the rear child restraints.

Volkswagen speaks at length about its “Safety Cage.” They state that the front and rear crumple zones absorb crash energy, and the cage distributes forces away from occupants. The Arteon’s Intelligent Crash Response System turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and activates the hazard light in the event of a crash. More tech includes an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that slows the car down when an impact occurs.

Base Arteons also come standard with Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind-Spot Monitors, Front Collision Avoidance, Lane Keep Assist, and Rear Traffic Alert. The SE R-Line starts at $42,530. For $4,000 more, the SEL R-Line can be had with headlight assists to dip high beams for oncoming traffic.

RELATED: 2023 Volkswagen Arteon: Overview, Price, & Specs — Sleek Sedan!

What are the safest large cars to drive?

The IIHS states that larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller ones. Consequently, a small car that qualifies for one of its awards may not provide the protection of larger counterparts that don’t earn an award.  

Regardless, shoppers looking over the 2022 Kia Stinger and 2023 Volkswagen Arteon won’t have to worry about safety credentials. Each vehicle is one of the best examples of sedan safety on sale today.

RELATED: Are Crossovers Really Safer Than Sedans?