5 of the Safest Cars Domestic and Foreign for 2011
Updated December 5, 2014
Every year sees progress in both vehicle fuel-efficiency and safety as technology improves and regulatory and consumer pressures increase. 2011 promises to deliver several vehicles that raise the bar on crash safety, skid control and other features.
2011 Volvo S60 – Safe Luxury Volvo is synonymous with safety, and frankly that connection sometimes brings to mind the word “boring.” With the 2011 S60 model, however, Volvo’s Scandinavian engineers have improved the chassis and suspension, promising a smoother ride geared more for serious drivers than soccer moms (the sporty looks and luxury features contribute to that notion also). That being said, the usual Volvo safety features are present with a few upgrades such as an improved traction control, collision warning, and an optional Pedestrian Detection system that spots human beings in front of the car and stops the vehicle automatically to avoid running them over!
2011 Volkswagen Polo Volkswagen has called their Polo “the safest…car in the world” in its class thanks to receiving the Euro NCAP 5-Star crash test score. Contributing to this are electronic traction control (stability) and whiplash-reducing head restraints, as well as a rigid body design. With a starting price around $14,000, this car can appeal to the budget- and safety-minded crowd.
2011 Subaru Legacy This vehicle was awarded the Gold Award by the IIHS for side- and head- on collisions and also earned the highest 5-star rating from the NHTSA. The 2010 model was hailed as Japan’s safest car and it seems 2011’s model may receive that accolade once again. Safety features include anti-lock brakes and a full complement of airbags (including curtain airbags). }
2011 Hyundai Sonata Chalk up another win for the Japanese auto makers: according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata gets high marks for “good performance in front, side, rollover, and rear tests and standard electronic stability control.” In addition to traction control and the ESC, the Sonata has Brake Assist to which intelligently adjusts the stopping power and how it is distributed along all four wheels. I had this on my much pricier Mercedes Benz C-Class and can tell you this feature alone makes a big difference in safety.
2011 Chevrolet CruzeOur only American entry is the compact Cruze. GM is ramping up safety features in this model, perhaps to make up for some past missteps in this area. Chevrolet has put in 10 airbags (yes, that is TEN) which covers just about every conceivable body part, plus it has electronic stability control, antilock brakes, and free OnStar for the first six months. It also gets up to 40 mpg, which means it’s a contender for one of the greenest vehicles in 2011 also (see my article here on the Top 5 Greenest Cars, Most Ecofriendly Cars for 2011).
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