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In addition to the latest stereo system, Bluetooth integration, GPS navigation and a DVD for the kids, consumers want to know that the vehicle they’re driving down the highway is safe.

Which Cars Are SafestAccording to Consumer Reports, 65% of consumers rate safety among their top three priorities when considering a car. compiled a list of the safest cars of 2011 to help those in the market to be sure they’re getting the safety and security they’re looking for.

Topping the list, which included only sedans, no crossovers, SUVs or pick-up trucks were included, are the larger cars like the Buick LaCrosse, Lincoln MKS and Mercedes C Class. While these cars are at the top of the safety ladder, they’re also at the top of the price range for most car buyers. One reason these three are a cut above the rest is because of their size. According to the IIHS safety report, larger and heavier vehicles offer more protection than smaller ones. While smaller cars do pass the safety tests, you can’t fight physics.

The smallest (and cheapest) vehicle that made the cut was the Chevy's $16,275 Cruze. Smaller cars face an uphill battle in the vehicle market. Although they may pass the test and receive high safety ratings, consumers often don’t feel safe being the smallest one on the road. While they are sporty, sexy and fun to drive, many consumers don’t see them as a practical option for an everyday vehicle. However, small cars often have faster acceleration, quicker brakes and better handling, which might contribute to avoiding a crash altogether. Although none of these small cars made the Forbes list, Consumer Reports rated the Ford Mustang, Porsche 911, MINI Cooper S and Lotus Elise the best cars for crash avoidance based on braking and handling tests.

The test-standards for evaluating safety have increased over the year and now involved a 40-mph frontal offset crash, a side crash where the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph and a rollover test where a metal plate is pushed against the roof at a rate of 0.2 inches per second. The roof must withstand a force of four times the vehicle's weight before reaching five inches of crush in order to pass.

The severities of these tests have pressured automakers to improve their products to increase their scores. When the rollover test was first performed in March 2009, only one-third of the SUVs tested had roofs that earned a "good" rating and most cars failed the side crash test. Today, most SUV’s earn top scores on rollovers and more than 90% of new cars pass side tests with flying colors.

By Matt Reynolds - Google+
Posted 2:22 PM

Tags: safety, auto, stats
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Claude Reynolds Insurance Agency Inc.
6801 Dixie Hwy Suite 232
Louisville, KY 40258
Phone: 502-933-2255
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