By Mark G. McLaughlin
There are many different things people look for when buying a car, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that when it comes to cars, safety is definitely first. Automakers understand this, and they design and equip their cars with safety in mind. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in particular sets high standards for safety, and has come out with its annual list of the safest vehicles on the road. All 15 cars on that list will be in the exhibit hall at McCormick Place at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
2018 Chicago Auto Show
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
Date: February 10 – 19
Time: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. every day except the last (8 p.m. on Feb. 19)
Safest Small Sedan: Kia Forte
The Kia Forte is rated as one of the four safest small sedans by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The other three so honored are the Kia Soul, Subaru Impreza and Subaru WRX, all of which can also be seen on the floor of the Chicago Auto Show. That is no small accomplishment, especially this year, as the IIHS has raised the bar on what they require to deem a car “safe,” let alone among the safest in its class. The Kia Forte’s new driver assistance technology, blind spot detection and forward collision warning systems get particularly high marks, and helped the Kia Forte earn its rating as one of the safest small sedans on the road today.
Safest Midsize Car: Subaru Legacy
The Subaru Legacy also surpassed the new, tougher standards for safety set by the IIHS. They put it among the top three safest midsize cars of the year (The Subaru Outback and Toyota Camry are the other two). The pre-collision warning, lane departure warning and reverse automatic braking are among the key features that earned the Legacy its high rating. U.S. News and World Report concurred with the IIHS, and went so far as to give the legacy a 10 out of 10 rating for safety.
Safest Large Luxury Car: Lincoln Continental
The storied Lincoln Continental has always done well in safety tests, and this year the IIHS named it as one of the five safest luxury cars. Only 15 cars out of more than 1,000 made it to this top rank, and five of those were luxury cars. Lincoln shared that spot with the BMW 5, the Mercedes Benz E-Class and two vehicles from Genesis (G80 and G90), all of which can be found at the Chicago Auto Show. The Continental got exceptional marks for its rear cross-traffic direction, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning and blind spot monitoring systems. It also won recognition for having not only dual front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, but also for its front-knee airbag protection.
Safest Mid-Size SUVs: Hyundai Santa Fe
Only two mid-size SUVs made it into the IIHS’s top 15 safest vehicles, and both of them are Hyundai Santa Fe models. The Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport have the same basic safety systems, and IIHS could not decide on awarding its top rating in that class to one over the other, so it gave it to them both. This crossover has most of the safety features found in more expensive cars, including driver’s knee and side-curtain airbags, but also has stability and traction control systems as well as “smart” cruise control to help maintain a safe distance from other cars on the road.
Safest Mid-Size Luxury SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLC
The last of the 15 vehicles rated the safest on the road by IIHS is the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Unlike in the other categories, the Mercedes stands alone and does not have to share this honor for safety in its class. This luxury mid-size SUV has the standard suite of airbags and other safe driving technology, but gets especially high marks for its blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems.