Car safety is based on two major ratings by organizations every year--the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While a car can do very well in one series of crash tests and receive a 5-star rating (often used in advertising), doing well in both tests is the real sign of flawless safety. American auto manufacturers have had ups and downs in recent years and safety has varied. A few new American-made models may be, however, the safest on the road.
The Edge, Fusion, F-150, Escape and Flex were all models which did remarkably well, especially in the IIHS tests, which seem to be the most important of the two to consumers. All the vehicles had optional ESC, or electronic stability control, which will be required by the government on all vehicles by 2012.
Now owned by Ford Motor Company, Volvo continues to be one of the safest cars ever--and seems to have rubbed off on its parent company in the best possible ways. With just about every car they make, they receive excellent safety ratings, due to the weight of the frame of the car, the multiple airbags and the structural security. The Volvo XC90 received the best ratings, from publications, consumers and safety testers alike.
Saabs have been classically safe cars, which is one of the reasons GM purchased them. They are also the only car in all of GM's empire which received an excellent safety rating, as they had been doing for decades before GM ever owned them. They are safest when it comes to whiplash, with head and neck restraints built into the seats so your head and neck can't snap back and forth violently.
Owned by Ford, who is clearly making big strides in paying attention to the safety of its consumers, the Mercury Milan was another mid-size car to receive excellent safety ratings from the IIHS. Much like other cars in its class, the Milan has ESC and front and side airbags, along with good seats that provide whiplash protection.
Always known for safety, but also known for being small and cheap, the Saturn Vue has received high marks as well. There are front and side airbags for the driver and the passenger as well as airbags in the back seats, as well as a passenger head restraint whiplash system. U.S. models are still dwarfed by the consistent safety of foreign cars, however, proving that the country who used to make the best cars in the world has some catching up to do.
- Photo Credit http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/06/ford-fusion-t-boned-by-iihs-low-side-impact-rating/