Samuel Huist
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10 Safest New Cars and SUVs For 2017

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Every year, two safety organizations test a multitude of new cars, trucks, and SUVs in order to determine each vehicle’s ability to protect its occupants in the event of a crash, as well as provide ratings for how well each vehicle performs in preventing crashes before they have a chance to transpire. Those two safety organizations are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While it is true that not every automaker has revealed its full lineup of vehicles for the 2017 model year, a fair amount of these cars and SUVs have already undergone safety testing and this article includes those vehicles that have done the best so far…


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The 2017 Ford Fusion is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Ford Fusion

2017 Ford Fusion

Thanks to a redesigned front end, the 2017 Ford Fusion sedan was able to score “Good” ratings in all five IIHS safety tests, which are small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. Prior to the updates made to the front end, the Fusion only received an “Acceptable” score in the difficult small front overlap test. However, thanks to its modified structure, engineers reduced maximum intrusion from six inches down to only two inches. In addition, the 2017 Ford Fusion received a “Superior” rating in the front crash prevention category because of its available active braking technology that includes a forward collision warning component.

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The 2017 Audi A4 is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Audi A4

2017 Audi A4

Like the Ford Fusion, the new Audi A4 sedan also secured “Good” ratings in all five IIHS crashworthiness tests as well as a “Superior” score for front crash prevention. These excellent scores allowed the 2017 Audi A4 to take home IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honors. Every new Audi A4 comes standard with Audi pre sense city with automatic emergency braking. This advanced safety technology can help the A4 detect pedestrians and other vehicles at speeds as high as 52 mph. Furthermore, this front crash prevention system can automatically apply the brakes if it detects an impending collision.

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The 2017 Lincoln MKZ is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Lincoln MKZ

2017 Lincoln MKZ

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise the 2017 Lincoln MKZ was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, especially when you consider that it utilizes the same frame as the 2017 Ford Fusion sedan. Like the Fusion, the new MKZ comes with a revised front end and bumpers which allowed the car to improve its rating in the small overlap front test from “Acceptable” to “Good.” Moreover, the ‘17 MKZ is also available with a front crash prevention system that received a “Superior” score from the IIHS. This advanced safety system allowed the Lincoln MKZ to avoid collisions in both the 12-mph and 25-mph IIHS track tests.

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The 2017 Genesis G80 is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Genesis G80

2017 Genesis G80

The 2017 Genesis G80 is just one of a handful of vehicles that have earned IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honors, as well as the highest possible safety rating of five stars from the NHTSA. In addition to the frontal and side crashworthiness tests performed by the IIHS, the NHTSA also conducts rollover crash tests, which the Genesis G80 passed with another five-star rating. The 2017 Genesis G80 comes standard with a number of advanced safety features, including blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, high beam assist, and smart cruise control with stop/start capability, as well as lane keep assist and lane departure warning with haptic steering wheel.

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The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Hyundai Elantra

2017 Hyundai Elantra

The Top Safety Pick+ rating given to the 2017 Hyundai Elantra only applies to vehicles built after March. The previous version of the Elantra only earned an “Acceptable” score in the small overlap test. However, Hyundai took notice of that rating and then made modifications, which included strengthening the junction between the door sill and hinge pillar, as well as updating the frontal airbag. These modifications decreased maximum intrusion into the occupant’s space from nine inches down to two inches. Every 2017 Hyundai Elantra comes standard with traction and stability control, seven airbags, antilock brakes, and vehicle stability management. In addition, the 2017 Elantra is available with more advanced safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist.

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The 2017 Chevrolet Volt is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

Chevrolet Volt (2016 model pictured)
Photo: © General Motors

2017 Chevrolet Volt

The Volt Plug-In Hybrid not only provides an all-electric driving range of up to 53 miles, but this eco-friendly Chevy also earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. That means the second-generation Volt earned “Good” scores in all five IIHS crashworthiness tests and also secured a “Superior” rating for its front crash prevention technology. The new Volt offers an Adaptive Cruise Control package that comes with Front Automatic Braking and Low-Speed Automatic Braking. When equipped with these safety features, the 2017 Chevy Volt was able to prevent collisions in both the 12 mph and 25 mph IIHS track tests.

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The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Cadillac XT5
Photo: © General Motors

2017 Cadillac XT5

While the 2017 Cadillac XT5 has yet to undergo safety testing for the NHTSA, this new luxury crossover did earn Top Safety Pick+ honors from the IIHS. This prestigious safety award helped the XT5 become Cadillac’s best-selling model since it was released earlier this year. Each new Cadillac XT5 comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, and seven airbags. The Cadillac XT5 is also available with auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, which allowed the XT5 to earn its “Superior” rating in the frontal crash prevention category duing IIHS safety testing. Vehicles that earn “Good” ratings in all five crashworthiness tests and a “Basic” rating for front crash prevention are eligible to become Top Safety Picks, but it takes an “Advanced” or “Superior” rating for front crash protection to secure the even more prestigious “+” rating.

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The 2017 Buick Envision is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Buick Envision
Photo: © General Motors

2017 Buick Envision

The 2017 Buick Envision was the first vehicle built exclusively in China that was ever safety tested by the IIHS as part of its consumer ratings. For their part, the Chinese workforce proved they could built a solid vehicle as the imported Envision crossover earned “Good” scores in all five IIHS crashworthiness tests and an “Advanced” rating in the front crash prevention category, which was due to the vehicle’s optional automatic braking technology. In addition to its desirable safety features, the Buick Envision has also gained notoriety thanks to a popular father and son commercial that stars Colin Owens and Marilia Moreno.

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The 2017 Kia Sportage is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage

Just like the Genesis G80, the 2017 Kia Sportage also earned a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick+ honors from the IIHS. The new Kia Sportage uses the same platform that can be found in the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. This new platform allowed the 2017 Sportage to improve its score in the challenging front overlap test from “Poor” to “Good.” This is important because the parking brake pedal of the previous Sportage was moved approximately 16 inches during the small overlap test, but in the redesigned model the brake pedal was only pushed a total of six inches.

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The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is one of only a few 2017 model year vehicles to have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe earned a five star (out of five) overall safety rating from the NHTSA. To be more specific, the 2017 Santa Fe earned five-star ratings in both the front and side crash tests performed by the organization, while also receiving a four-star rating in the rollover portion of the NHTSA tests. In addition, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. Each new Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, seven airbags, hill-start assist, and a rearview camera. Other advanced safety technology available with the Santa Fe includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, as well as lane-departure warning.

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Source: iihs.org

  • Samuel HuistEditor

    Samuel Huist is easily the tallest member (6-feet 5-inches) of the The News Wheel team. He enjoys listening to hip-hop music and loves watching NBA basketball. Sam is also a Dayton, Ohio native and doesn’t seem to mind that distinction as much anymore. His first car was a 1996 Ford Taurus he could barely fit in. Like many young folks, he seemed more concerned about the radio in his first car than actually doing the work to maintain an automobile, so sadly it’s no longer with us. See more articles by Samuel.