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Every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) goes over its notes, reviews its test data, and compiles a list of the safest cars, trucks, and SUVs. The IIHS is funded by the insurance industry and conducts crash tests and other safety-related tests giving the vehicles it reviews an overall safety rating. 

For 2022, no less than 65 vehicles were awarded the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. Let’s take a look at how the IIHS tests vehicles and which cars made the grade in 2022.

How the IIHS tests vehicle safety

Here in the United States, two leading organizations test vehicle safety. The first is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is a government-run agency and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both conduct crash and safety tests on vehicles available for sale here in America. Typically, the NHTSA and IIHS test around 80% of vehicles on sale. They focus on mainstream manufacturers and models, which sometimes leaves large luxury cars, SUVs, and high-end sports cars out of the test. That is due to their relatively low sales volume.

The IIHS, which compiles the Top Safety Pick+ list, conducts a large number of different crash tests. Their testing includes driver-side small-overlap front, moderate-overlap front, side, roof-strength, passenger-side small-overlap, and head restraint testing.

To earn the IIHS’ highest award, vehicles need to earn a Good rating in all six of those crash tests. Vehicles also need to score a Good or Acceptable rating for headlights and achieve an Advanced or Superior rating for crash-prevention systems.

These are the safest sedans and hatchbacks in 2022

In total, 65 vehicles were awarded the Top Safety Pick+ rating in 2022, the most in the history of the IIHS. That says something about the overall safety of the vehicles we drive today. Of those 65 vehicles, 28 sedans and hatchbacks made the list. 

IIHS President David Harkey, as quoted by the IIHS website, had this to say, “Manufacturers deserve congratulations for the steady improvements they’ve made since we last updated our award requirements, but with U.S. traffic fatalities expected to exceed 40,000 people in 2021, it’s no time for anybody to rest on their laurels.

“A key reason vehicles have continued to get safer over the more than 25 years since the Institute began our ratings program is that we have never shied away from raising the bar. The high number of Top Safety Pick+ winners shows that it’s time to push for additional changes.”

Here is the complete list of sedans and hatchbacks to be awarded Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.

Honda Civic HatchbackHonda AccordAcura TLXKIA StingerAudi A6
Honda Civic SedanKIA K5Lexus ES300Audi A6 Allroad
Honda InsightNissan AltimaLexus ISAudi A7
Mazda3 HatchbackNissan MaximaTesla Model 3Genesis G70
Mazda3 SedanSubaru LegacyVolvo S60Genesis G80
Subaru Crosstrek HybridSubaru OutbackVolvo S60 RechargeGenesis G90
Toyota CamryVolvo V60 Cross CountryMercedes-Benz E-Class

Can we draw any conclusions from the list?

A profile view of a blue BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe being crash tested at the IIHS testing facility.
IIHS crash test of a BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe | IIHS

It is difficult to draw any safety-related conclusions from the list other than 28 sedans and hatchbacks received the IIHS’ top award. It is impossible to determine which car is the safest or which one will protect you the best if you’re ever in a car accident. That is entirely dependent on the circumstances of the accident. 

It is far better to drive safely and proactively than to test your vehicle’s safety ratings in real life. 

However, we can make a few generalizations by looking at the complete list of vehicles. Hyundai Group, which includes Hyundai, Genesis, and KIA, had five sedans make the list. Honda, which also has the Acura brand, also had five winners. Audi, Subaru, Toyota (including Lexus), and Volvo had three sedans on the list. Those inclusions would suggest that Hyundai Group and Honda Motors make the safest cars overall.

If you are currently car shopping and have put safety as your top priority, the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ ratings could help you make an informed decision. But as always, it’s better to drive safely and proactively than to bet on how your car will perform in an accident.