What are the highest crash safety ratings for passenger vehicles?

I’m interested in buying a new car. Safety is high on my priority list, but I don’t know anything about crash safety ratings. What are the highest safety ratings for passenger vehicles?

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Answer provided by
Eric Schad
Answered on Apr 21, 2022
The two official bodies that come up with safety ratings for passenger vehicles are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both of these organizations assess crash tests to determine vehicles’ scores.
The highest crash safety ratings for passenger vehicles are:
  • A 5-star rating from NHTSA
  • A Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS
In addition to crash tests, the IIHS rating also includes an assessment of:
  • Headlights
  • Head restraints and seats
  • Roof strength
  • Advanced safety features and driver-assist safety features
And in case you’re wondering, only about 10 cars each year get both a 5-star NHTSA rating and a Top Safety Pick+ rating. Here are a few that achieved this feat recently:
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