Safest for passengers: GMC Sierra Photo credit: GMC
If you're looking for a safe vehicle for your family, you need to know only one thing: Go big. Even though small cars can score decently in crash tests, sheer size ultimately will protect your passengers from injuries. “If safety is a priority, you should avoid the smallest cars,” advises Russ Rader, spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Best vehicles for protecting passengers from injuries
GMC Sierra 1500 (SLE, SLT and Work Truck)
GMC Yukon (Denali and SLT)
GMC Sierra 2500 SLE
GMC Terrain SLE1
Italian design proves to be no match for American brawn when it comes to passenger safety. Five models of the Fiat 500 fill the “worst” spot.
Worst vehicles for protecting passengers from injuries
Fiat 500 (Lounge, CLounge, Sport, Pop and CPop)
Kia Rio 5 (LX and SX)
Toyota Corolla L
Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
“The laws of physics are always in play in crashes,” explains Rader. “Weight counts. Smaller, lighter cars are safer than they used to be, but all things being equal, people riding in bigger, heavier vehicles get more protection in crashes.” In a head-on crash, the vehicle that is heavier will drive the lighter one backward, increasing crash forces for the people in the lighter car and reducing forces for those in the heavier one, says Rader. “Smaller cars also have less crush space in front to manage the energy of a crash and help 'cushion' the occupants as the vehicle comes to a stop.” Higher insurance claims for injuries will be reflected in auto insurance rates.