The Safest Cars on the Road in 2021

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety selects the safest of the safest vehicles for 2021.

  • 50 vehicles awarded the Top Safety Pick+ endorsement
  • More awards handed out this year than in years past
  • Winners range from small cars and SUVs to minivans and a pickup truck

There’s a lot to consider when buying a new vehicle: reliability, fuel efficiency, your budget, and auto insurance rates, to name just a few. For many drivers, however, the safety rating is what makes or breaks the car buying decision. In the face of a collision (or avoiding one), some vehicles are safer than others. Every year, the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recognizes the vehicles that perform best in a bad situation.

“With these awards, we want to make it easy for consumers to find vehicles that provide good protection in crashes, sufficient lighting and effective front crash protection,” IIHS President David Harkey says in a press release. “Manufacturers have stepped up to meet the challenge, and the list of great options has grown to an impressive size this year.”

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The IIHS awards have two tiers. There’s the Top Safety Pick+ and the Top Safety Pick (minus the ‘plus’). Regardless of tier, vehicles must garner ‘good’ ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests to be selected. The winners must also be available with front crash prevention that earns a superior or advanced rating in tests to avoid a collision with another vehicle or with a pedestrian.

Headlights are the final consideration, and winners must be available with headlights deemed good or acceptable by the IIHS. The ‘plus’ designation is given to models that have good or acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages – it's not an optional add-on; these headlights come standard with the vehicle.

Let’s start first with the 25 cars with the plus and 18 cars minus the plus.

IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick+ Winners: Small, Midsize, and Large Cars

Small carsMidsize carsMidsize luxury carsLarge luxury cars
Honda InsightHonda AccordAcura TLXAudi A6
Mazda 3 hatchbackKia 5Lexus ES 350Audi A6 Allroad
Mazda 3Mazda 6Lexus ISAudi A7
Subaru Crosstrek HybridNissan AltimaTesla Model 3Genesis G70
 Nissan MaximaVolvo S60Genesis G90
 Subaru LegacyVolvo S60 Recharge 
 Subaru OutbackVolvo V60 
 Toyota CamryVolvo V60 Recharge 



IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick Winners: Small, Midsize, and Large Cars

Small carsMidsize carsMidsize luxury carsLarge cars
Honda Civic hatchbackHyundai SonataAudi A4Kia Stinger
Honda Civic Audi A5 Sportback 
Hyundai Veloster BMW 3 series 
Kia Forte Mercedes-Benz C-Class 
Kia Soul   
Nissan Sentra   
Subaru Crosstrek   
Subaru Impreza wagon   
Subaru Impreza   
Subaru WRX   
Toyota Corolla hatchback   
Toyota Corolla   


IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick+ Winners: Small, Midsize, and Large SUVs and Minivans

Small SUVsMidsize SUVsMidsize luxury SUVsLarge SUVsMinivans
Mazda CX-3Ford ExplorerAcura RDXAudi e-tronHonda Odyssey
Mazda CX-30Hyundai PalisadeCadillac XT6Audi e-tron SportbackToyota Sienna
Mazda CX-5Mazda CX-9Genesis GV80  
Nissan RogueSubaru AscentHyundai Nexo  
Subaru ForesterToyota HighlanderLexus NX  
Volvo XC40 Mercedes-Benz GLE  
  Volvo XC60  
  Volvo XC60 Recharge  
  Volvo XC90  
  Volvo XC90 Recharge  

IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick Winners: Small, Midsize, and Large SUVs and One Pickup

Small SUVsMidsize SUVsMidsize luxury SUVsLarge SUVsLarge pickup
Chevrolet EquinoxFord EdgeLexus RXAudi Q8Ram 1500 Crew
Ford EscapeKia SorentoLincoln Aviator  
Honda CR-VKia TellurideMercedes-Benz GLC  
Hyundai KonaVolkswagen Tiguan   
Hyundai Tucson    
Hyundai Venue    
Kia Seltos    
Kia Sportage    
Lexus UX    
Lincoln Corsair    
Toyota C-HR    
Toyota RAV4    
Toyota RAV4 Prime    
Toyota Venza    


Safety plus savings: Compare insurance quotes for the vehicle that offers you both

Safety and savings can go hand-in-hand. If you’re in the market to buy one of the IIHS’s safest vehicles, compare auto insurance quotes first. The cost of coverage can vary significantly, and with the right provider, you can have a vehicle that is not only safe on the road but doesn't cost a lot to insure either.