These are the safest cars of 2017

Making the cut for the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award got even tougher this year. 

Jim Fets/Courtesy of General Motors Co./AP/File
The 2017 Buick Envision is one of several new 2017 models that have received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, the agency's top honor.

The IIHS has revealed its list of what it considers to be the safest new cars available—those that qualify for its coveted Top Safety Pick+ award.

For 2017, making the cut has become even more difficult since cars now need to meet the insurance-funded independent agency's headlight effectiveness test in addition to delivering strong crash test performance and offering a highly-rated automatic emergency braking system.

Now, cars need to earn at least the agency's "good" or "acceptable" ratings for their headlights and either "advanced" or "superior" for their available automatic emergency braking, plus "good" ratings in the following crash tests:

  • Small overlap front
  • Moderate overlap front
  • Side impact
  • Roof strength
  • Head restraint

If a vehicle receives all those marks, it's considered a Top Safety Pick+. It can be awarded the standard Top Safety Pick title if its headlights don't pass muster or if it doesn't offer a strong-performing automatic emergency braking. One caveat to this award is that, to be considered a Top Safety Pick+, the individual model must both be equipped with often optional automatic emergency braking and with the highest-performing headlights available. MORE: Pickups come under fire for poor headlights For instance, the Honda Accord is considered a Top Safety Pick+ only if it is equipped with the automaker's optional Honda Sensing safety suite (which includes automatic emergency braking) and if it has the standard halogen headlamps that earn an "acceptable" score on the IIHS' test. An Accord with either the LED lights or not optioned up with Honda Sensing is not considered a Top Safety Pick+. The lesson here? Just because a car appears on the list below doesn't automatically mean it comes standard with all of the available safety features needed to earn the top award.  Look for this list to continue to grow as the IIHS tests more 2017 models and keep in mind that the IIHS doesn't test every car on the market. 

2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award Winners

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Audi A4
  • Audi Q5
  • Buick Envision
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Chrysler Pacifica (built after August 2016)
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Honda Accord Sedan
  • Honda Pilot
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Hyundai Elantra Sedan (built after March 2016)
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (built after March 2016)
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus RX
  • Lexus ES
  • Mazda 3
  • Mazda 6
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Nissan Altima
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Forester (built after October 2016)
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Prius (built after August 2016)
  • Toyota Prius v
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo V60
  • Volvo XC60

And here's a look at models that earned the standard Top Safety Pick award, the standard is lower for the cars' headlamps and their collision avoidance tech—but the IIHS points out that their basic safety structures are still top notch. All told, any car to be awarded either the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award is among the safest on the market. Here at The Car Connection, we factor both awards into our ratings system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick Award Winners

  • Acura ILX
  • Acura RLX
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A6
  • Audi Q7
  • BMW 2-Series
  • BMW X1
  • Cadillac XT5
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Chrysler 200
  • Fiat 500X
  • Ford Fusion
  • GMC Acadia
  • Honda Accord Coupe
  • Honda Civic
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Infiniti Q70 (except V-8 all-wheel drive)
  • Kia Sedona
  • Kia Sorento
  • Kia Sportage
  • Kia Optima
  • Lincoln MKX
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Lexus CT 200h
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
  • Mini Cooper
  • Nissan Murano
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Subaru WRX
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Toyota Yaris iA
  • Volkswagen Golf/GTI
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Volvo S90
  • Volvo XC90
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