Safest Cars of 2009

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released their list of the safest cars of 2009. What follows is a rundown of the “Top Safety Picks, ” which “do the best job of protecting people in front, side, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests.” This year, there were 72 such picks, which is double the number from 2008, and triple the number from 2007.

The ever-increasing number of winners makes me wonder if cars actually getting safer, or if carmakers are just getting better at beating the tests. Hopefully the test results are reflective of real-world safety improvements.

While the list of winners is rather lengthy, there are some notable features. For example, Ford and their subsidiary Volvo had 16 winners, whereas Honda/Acura has 13 winners. Also, Honda, Acura, and Subaru have at least one Top Safety Pick in every vehicle class in which they compete.

Here’s the full list of winners…

Large cars

  • Acura RL
  • Audi A6
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Ford Taurus
  • Lincoln MKS
  • Mercury Sable
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Volvo S80

Midsize cars

  • Acura TL, TSX
  • Audi A3, A4
  • BMW 3 series, 4-door
  • Ford Fusion w/optional ESC
  • Honda Accord, 4-door
  • Mercedes C class
  • Mercury Milan w/optional ESC
  • Saab 9-3
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Volkswagen Jetta, Passat

Small cars

  • Honda Civic, 4-door (except Si) w/optional ESC
  • Mitsubishi Lancer w/optional ESC
  • Scion xB
  • Subaru Impreza w/optional ESC
  • Toyota Corolla w/optional ESC
  • Volkswagen Rabbit


  • Honda Fit w/optional ESC

Midsize convertibles

  • Saab 9-3
  • Volkswagen Eos
  • Volvo C70


  • Honda Odyssey
  • Hyundai Entourage
  • Kia Sedona

Large SUVs

  • Audi Q7v
  • Buick Enclave
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • GMC Acadia
  • Saturn Outlook

Midsize SUVs

  • Acura MDX, RDX
  • BMW X3, X5
  • Ford Edge, Flex, Taurus X
  • Honda Pilot
  • Hyundai Santa Fe, Veracruz
  • Infiniti EX35
  • Lincoln MKX
  • Mercedes M class
  • Nissan Murano
  • Saturn VUE
  • Subaru Tribeca
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser, Highlander
  • Volvo XC90

Small SUVs

  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Element
  • Mazda Tribute
  • Mercury Mariner
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Volkswagen Tiguan

Large pickups

  • Ford F-150
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Toyota Tundra

Small pickup

  • Toyota Tacoma


4 Responses to “Safest Cars of 2009”

  1. Anonymous

    cars are getting safer and the tests have changed to more realistic scenarios.

    although safer, cars are more expensive to repair. it doesn’t take much of a bump to cost a lot to repair.

  2. Anonymous

    If you look at accident safety statistics I believe that cars are getting safer as well, the number of deaths per miles driven continues to decline. I have a subaru, I’m not surprised they are one of the top picks. All the safety features, side airbags etc are standard, not options like at other dealers.

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