For decades, midsize sedans were the default family car for Americans, and Toyota Camry’s place as the top-selling model was the symbol of that dominance.
However, that role has shifted to SUVs and crossovers in recent years. Nowadays, Nissan Rogue outsells everything except the Detroit pickup trucks.
Nonetheless, midsize sedans remain one of the best-selling segments for automakers. It’s hard to top the comfort, safety, and practicality of the ones that are done right.
With the increasingly difficult requirements for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ awards, the safety element has become harder to master. For the 2018 model year, only these four midsize sedans landed the top IIHS award.
1. Subaru Legacy
You could argue that Subaru Legacy is the safest car on the U.S. market in 2018. This model got the highest possible score in each of the six IIHS crash tests. Meanwhile, its front-crash prevention system rated “superior.”
To top it off, Legacy got a Good+ score for how easy its child-seat anchors are to use. It’s nothing new for most Subarus to lock down the Top Safety Pick+ awards, but the 2018 Legacy went above and beyond its usual safety standard.
Only models with crash-prevention tech and LED projector headlights (in the EyeSight Driver Assist package) get the top safety designation.
2. Toyota Camry
If Legacy isn’t the safest midsize car, Toyota Camry might be. It aced every crash test, rated “superior” for crash-avoidance tech, and scored Good+ for child-seat anchors.
However, Camry has a leg up on Legacy and the others because its crash-prevention system (Toyota Safety Sense) comes standard. The only add-on shoppers need for the safest Camry is the Adaptive Headlights package.
Overall, that made it four straight years Camry won the top IIHS honors.
3. Hyundai Sonata
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is right up there with the highest possible crash-test ratings and its superior accident-prevention systems. However, IIHS testers took issue with the ease of its child-seat anchors, labeling them “marginal.” Yet that didn’t change its overall score in a significant way.
Sonata’s LED projector headlights and crash-prevention tech transform the base model into one of the safest midsize sedans. To get this model into the winner’s circle after nabbing the lesser safety award in 2017, Hyundai added new headlight options.
4. Kia Optima
The fourth midsize sedan to land an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for 2018 is the Kia Optima. Like the other models on this list, Optima landed top scores for front, side, roof, and head restraint crash tests.
Likewise, this model rated “superior” for front crash-prevention technology. Its child-seat anchors rated “acceptable” for ease of use. Buyers who want to get the safest Optima in the dealership need to add emergency braking and the technology package to get the right crash-avoidance tech.
Finally, available LED projector headlights round out the add-ons. For Kia, the 2018 Top Safety Pick+ made three straight years Optima won the award.