With so many compact cars out there to choose from, many times deciding on a new car to buy comes down to what is the safest make and model available. In fact, a car’s safety rating has become a huge selling feature for Canadians. Knowing this, many automotive manufacturers have made safety their top priority and have created impressive technology to follow suit.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) awards Top Safety Pick Ratings to dozens of vehicles every year in North America based on their performance during tests that evaluate two aspects of safety:
- Crashworthiness (how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash)
- Crash avoidance and mitigation (how well its technology can prevent a crash or lessen its severity)
To determine crashworthiness, the IIHS examines a vehicle’s performance in five tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. It rates performance as good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. For crash avoidance and mitigation, IIHS assigns a basic, advanced, or superior rating, based on the type of system and performance during the tests.
If having the safest car on the road is more important to you, keep reading to discover the top 5 safest compact cars on Canadian roads. The following vehicles scored a ‘Good’ in all five test categories, as well as an Advanced or Superior rating in terms of crash avoidance and mitigation.
2016 Acura ILX
As per the IIHS report, “The Acura ILX was introduced in the 2013 model year and is derived from the Honda Civic. Beginning with 2016 models, the ILX was re-engineered with structural and occupant restraint changes to improve occupant protection in both small overlap and moderate overlap frontal crashes.”
2016 Honda Civic
Always a strong contender in terms of safety ratings, the Honda Civic was redesigned for the 2016 model year. Its latest design earned it a Superior rating in terms of crash avoidance and mitigation.
2016 Mazda 3
Both the 4-door hatchback and 4-door sedan Mazda 3 earned a Top Safety Pick rating. The Mazda 3 was redesigned for the 2014 model year. As per the IIHS report, “Beginning with 2014 models built after October 2013, the front suspension was modified to improve occupant protection in small overlap frontal crashes.”
2016 Nissan Sentra
Prior to its redesign in 2013, the Nissan Sentra performed poorly for crashworthiness. But, as per the IIHS report, “Beginning with 2015 models, the front structure as well as the A-pillar and door sill were modified to improve occupant protection in small overlap frontal crashes. Also, the side curtain airbags were lengthened.”
2016 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza and WRX
It’s tough to not be impressed with Suburu, which has earned three vehicles on IIHS’s list of safety compact cars in Canada despite being a smaller manufacturer.
- The Subaru Crosstrek wagon was introduced in 2013 with increased ground clearance over the Impreza. It has yet to miss a Top Safety Pick award.
- The Suburu Impreza is equally as impressive. It was redesigned for the 2012 model year. “Beginning with 2014 models, structural changes were made to improve occupant protection primarily in small overlap frontal crashes,” the report states.
- The Suburu WRX, which was redesigned for the 2015 model year, shares some of its design elements with the Subaru Impreza, but with sufficient differences for it to be rated separately, rising above plenty of strong contenders.
2016 Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius has always been a dependable car as far as safety is concerned, but its 2016 redesign was enough to propel it into the IIHS’s Top Safety Picks list.
Addition Top Safety Pick Compact Cars
Other compact cars that fared well and earned Top Safety Picks in 2016 include the:
- Volkswagen Golf
- Volkswagen GTI
- Lexus CT 200h
- Chevrolet Sonic
- Kia Soul
What Makes a Vehicle Safer Than Others?
Have you ever wondered why some cars feel like tin cans, while other cars you’ve been in have felt more like military tanks? The difference is in the quality of the materials that make up the vehicle’s body and its frame.
So, the stronger the material, the stronger the car, right? If only it were that simple!
The other things that boost a car’s safety rating is its number of air bags, the quality of its restraint systems, and its optional front crash prevention system.
A front crash prevention system includes high-tech features like forward collision warning, auto-braking, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention and blind spot detection. This type of advanced technology is making vehicles safer and safer, boosting the confidence of more and more drivers on the road.
Related: Distracted driving and insurance premiums: Leave your phone alone!
Does Driving a Safer Vehicle Affect Your Insurance Premiums?
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia uses six parameters to calculate what affects your insurance premiums, including:
- How you use your vehicle
- Where you live
- Your claims history
- The type of your protection you want
- Your desired deductible levels
- The type of vehicle you drive*
*Generally speaking, a vehicle with a higher safety rating reduces the cost of your premiums. However, the savings are usually offset by the value of what is typically a newer vehicle. But consider this—driving a 2016 Honda Civic (a Top Safety Pick) may get you a lower car insurance rate than what you would get with a 2014 vehicle that was not a Top Safety Pick. And that’s good news!
For all of your automotive insurance needs in the Greater Victoria and Gulf Island areas, SeaFirst Insurance Brokers are here to help you choose the best insurance for your motor vehicle, with premiums that fit your budget. We offer plenty of private automobile insurance options that provide big benefits and peace of mind. Drop by and see us or give us a call today!