Subaru safety ratings

Subaru safety ratings DEFAULT

Subaru XV

The passenger compartment of the XV remained stable in the frontal impact.  Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger.  Subaru demonstrated that a similar level of protection would be provided to occupants of different sizes and to those sat in different positions.  For the heavier hybrid variant, the driver's head 'bottomed-out' the airbag in the frontal offset test and the score was penalised, with protection rated as adequate.  In the full-width rigid barrier test, protection of the driver was good for all critical body areas.  However, the pelvis of the rear passenger dummy slipped below the lap section of the seatbelt.  Protection of the pelvis was rated as poor and the score was penalised.  Protection was otherwise good or adequate.  In the side barrier test, protection of all critical body areas was good and the XV scored maximum points.  Even in the more severe side pole test, protection of the chest was adequate and that of other parts of the body was good.  Tests on the front seats and head restraints demonstrated good protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear-end collision.  A geometric assessment of the rear seats also indicated good whiplash protection.  The standard-fit 'Eyesight' autonomous emergency braking system performed well in tests of its functionality at the low speeds at which many whiplash injuries are caused, with collisions avoided at all test speeds.


For the 2021 model year, more than 50 vehicles won the top award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That's the highest number of IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards ever. IIHS, funded by the insurance industry, conducts crash tests that include driver’s-side small-overlap front, moderate-overlap front, side, roof-strength, passenger-side small-overlap test, and head restraint testing. The group's highest award, the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ can only be earned if a vehicle scores Good ratings in all six of those tests, gets a Good or Acceptable rating for headlights, and achieves an Advanced or Superior rating for crash-prevention systems. The cars assembled in this list have all won IIHS's Top Safety Pick+ award for 2021.

Road safety is something we should all be concerned about. According to the most recent data on traffic deaths from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the numbers seem to be heading in the right direction overall—with a 2 percent drop in 2019 alone. NHTSA says that even alcohol-impaired driving fatalities are as low as they were when NHTSA began reporting the data in 1982.

However, although overall deaths might've dropped, many folks used the lighter traffic during quarantine as an opportunity to drive recklessly. According to a report from October 2020, the rate of fatal crashes per mile driven in the first half of 2020 was the highest it's been in a decade. It goes without saying that accidents still happen, and even with a 2 percent drop, 36,096 people died from traffic fatalities in 2019. The moral of the story is, there's still a lot of work to be done.

Risky behavior like speeding, operating a vehicle while under the influence, or riding without a seatbelt are all factors that influence these numbers. Automakers want to be sure that, in the event their vehicle is involved in an accident either with another car or with a pedestrian, serious injury or death is avoided. New tech such as automated crash mitigation systems helps with that. From curtain airbags to headlights that follow the car's steering angle, cars today are packed with modern driver-assistance features that have all made an impact, but some are far more effective than others.

Be safe out there.

Acura TLX

The 2021 Acura TLX is fully redesigned, and, unlike the previous generation, finds itself among 20 other cars as an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. The IIHS safety results showed Good and Superior marks throughout each test. Every TLX comes standard with LED low- and high-beam projector headlamps, and IIHS testing showed that the low beam pattern was never too bright for oncoming traffic, and the high-beam assist helped boost output while driving. The TLX comes standard with driver-assistant technology, such as forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. The TLX also features traffic sign recognition and an awareness monitor that will alert you if it senses you driving distracted.


Audi A6 and A6 Allroad

The comfortable riding, Audi A6 and its Allroad wagon counterpart earned a spot on our 2021 Editor's Choice list this year because of their smooth powertrain and high-tech cabin. Turns out, they're pretty darn safe too. The A6 Allroad scored slightly higher than the regular A6 sedan in headlight testing, but the rest of the results were nearly identical. The A6 Premium received an acceptable rating because its LED headlights weren't as powerful. During roof strength testing, the IIHS applied 22,702 pounds to the roof of the A6 to get it to crush the standard five inches. This is exceptional, and means the A6 and A6 Allroad have a strength-to-weight ratio of 5.39 for its roof. Standard driver-assistant features include automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, with available adaptive cruise control and a system that watches for traffic when you exit the vehicle.


Audi A7

The Audi A7 is a little like the A6, only it's bigger, quicker, and its hatchback rear lid makes it a more useful luxury four-door. The A7 scored Good and Superior ratings on almost all IIHS testing, with an Acceptable rating for headlights. Although every A7 comes with low- and high-beam LED projectors, the lights emitted some glare that kept it from receiving a Good rating. The 2019 A7 we last tested weighed 4377 pounds, could get to 60 mph from a stop in just 4.4 seconds, and could come to a stop from 70 mph in just 157 feet. Not only did the over two-ton luxury sedan avoid a collision at 25 mph, the Audi Pre Sense technology slowed it by 36 mph in 2.3 seconds before impacting a test dummy during the 37-mph IIHS parallel adult test.


Genesis G70

Skeptical of the low-cost luxury sports sedan from Genesis? Maybe the G70's IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award will put those worries on ice. The G70 received Good and Superior ratings on all crash tests and headlight measurements, but came up short on the somewhat difficult to use child-seat latches. The IIHS said the lower anchors were too deep in the seat, and it made maneuvering around them difficult. We've noted several times that rear seat space is tight on the G70, but its balanced chassis and driving feel at a base price of $37,000 is an unbeatable deal. The G70 comes with more standard driver-assist technology than many of its rivals. Automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control are all standard. The G70 avoided all IIHS vehicle-to-vehicle front crashes, as well as 12- and 25-mph vehicle-to-pedestrian impacts. During the 37 mph vehicle-to-pedestrian test, the G70 dropped to just 4 mph in under a second. The brake force is strong with this one.


Genesis G90

Like the entry-level luxury G70, the Genesis G90 is plush option aiming at a spot alongside Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and BMW 7-series. All of which are absent from this year's list. The G90 received top marks for crashworthiness, crash avoidance and mitigation. Like the G70, it received an Acceptable rating for its somewhat difficult to use child-seat anchors. During front-crash testing, front- and side-curtain airbags kept the driver's head away from the steering wheel, glass, and other hard structures that would cause injury. The G90's standard LED projector low- and high-beam headlights ranked Good for all four curved roadway visibility tests, despite the model not having curve-adaptive tech found on models like the Mazda 6 and S-Class. The G90 comes with blind spot detection, collision warning, and automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.


Honda Accord

We can't mention the Honda Accord without mentioning it has received more 10Best awards than Tom Brady has won Super Bowls. For now. From 1983 to 2021 it piled up 35 wins. Other people like it too. With nearly 200,000 sold last year—during a pandemic—it's one of the best-selling sedans in the U.S. And it's safe. The Accord got top marks during IIHS crash tests and avoidance tests. It's child-seat anchors earned a Good+ rating for its additional easy-to-find latch positions. Accord LX and Hybrid trims received an Acceptable headlight rating, likely because its high-beam uses a halogen reflector rather than the LED reflectors standard on all other trims. Its standard emergency braking system performed well in all tests, and during the 37-mph parallel adult test, it dropped to 1 mph in 2.3 seconds before making contact with the test dummy.


Honda Insight

Although the Honda Insight is more Civic-like in size, it scored higher than the Accord during IIHS testing. It comes standard with automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. The compact hybrid sedan achieved Good and Superior marks across every IIHS test, with a Good+ rating for easy-to-us child-seat anchors. Unlike the Accord, every Insight comes standard with LED low- and high-beam headlights. All models meet qualifications for the agencies' awards, so buyers don't have to pay extra for an option package to enjoy the safety and security the Insight provides. We lived with a 2019 Insight for 40,000 miles during a long-term road test.


Kia K5

Last year's Kia Optima was a Top Safety Pick. The Optima has been replaced by the sharper-looking K5, and Kia's mid-size sedan is safer than ever. Part of what makes the K5 safer is its added pedestrian-detection technology. Good and Superior ratings were awarded by the IIHS, but there were mixed results during headlight testing. Four different variations were tested. K5 GT-Line and GT models built after November 2020 have the best headlights with LED projectors. However, those same trims built before December 2020 received a Poor rating for inadequate visibility in all four headlight tests. The newest K5 LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT received an Acceptable rating for their shared LED reflectors.


Lexus IS

Models are usually updated throughout a generation. Better headlights, different bumpers, wheels, and colors are added. Obviously some of those changes are more significant than others. The Lexus IS received a big safety update for models built after June 2017. Lexus modified the footwell and reinforced the front of the car and its doors. These changes translated to Good IIHS crash-test ratings across the board. Oddly enough, the standard headlights on base IS300 were given a higher rating than IS300 equipped with the $1295 Premium Triple-Beam LED projector headlights. According to the headlight distances measured by the IIHS, the triple beams output wasn't great. Another improvement for 2021 models improved detection of pedestrians and bicyclists in low-light conditions. Every IS comes with automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.


Mazda 3 Sedan and Hatchback

The Mazda CX-5 sells three times as many units as the fun-to-drive Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback, but comparing IIHS ratings reveals the Mazda 3 is actually marginally safer than its larger crossover family member. The Mazda 3 matched CX-5 with Good and Superior ratings in every crash test, but scored higher in front-crash prevention and child-seat anchors. The pedestrian detection avoidance system in the Mazda 3 avoided collision in every test, where the CX-5 slowed its speed significantly, but struck the test dummy in four of the five tests. Every Mazda 3 has automatic high beams, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping, with optional adaptive cruise control.


Mazda 6

In addition to its knockout looks and eager driving dynamics, the Mazda 6 family sedan is also one of the safest choices in its class. It earned its Top Safety Pick+ designation easily, with Good crash test scores, a score of Superior for its standard driver-assistance features, and an Acceptable rating for its standard headlamps. Opting for the 6's LED projector headlamps bumps that last score up to Good, but that feature is reserved for Grand Touring Reserve, Signature, or Blackout Edition trim levels. Non-premium models with LED projectors don't have curve adaptive equipment, and earned an Acceptable rating instead. You get what you pay for.


Nissan Altima

When Nissan redesigned its midsize sedan for the 2019 model year, the Altima grew up. Sleeker headlights, 19-inch wheels, and a tech package aimed at making the Zoji La Pass feel as safe as driving through Ohio. People renting cars from Hertz will be comforted knowing the IIHS-confirmed testing on base S models for crash tests. The only area the Altima didn't receive top marks was for headlight output. Base Altimas still use the old halogen projectors for headlights, and even on other trims with LED projectors for low- and high-beam headlights, it scored an Acceptable rating for inadequate visibility on curves. Every Altima comes with high-beam assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and forward-collision warning. Every model above the base S trim gets rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, and rear automatic braking standard. There's also Nissan's semi-autonomous drive mode, ProPilot Assist for top SL and Platinum trims.


Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima just celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special edition model. The Maxima is no longer offered with halogen bulb headlights like it was in 2018, and its now standard LED reflectors have raised its IIHS headlight rating from Marginal to Acceptable across all trims. Nissan's automatic emergency braking system worked as intended during every IIHS test, and stopped in time to avoid vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions. In the 37 mph parallel adult test, the Maxima detected the pedestrian and stopped in under two seconds. Like other Nissans, the Maxima comes standard with automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, rear-cross-traffic warning and automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control.


Subaru Legacy

The Subaru Legacy is considered one of the safest cars in America, and it's a top seller for the brand. Even the base Legacy has features like adaptive headlights (that turn as you steer for curves), Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist, active cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. It will also alert you if someone in the second row isn't wearing a seatbelt. Every Legacy comes with LED projector low- and high-beam headlights. While receiving Good and Superior ratings in all six crash tests and crash prevention tests, the IIHS did note that during small overlap passenger-side testing, the dummy's head was vulnerable after slipping into the gap between the frontal and side curtain airbags. It was given an Acceptable rating for that specific evaluation.


Tesla Model 3

Some cars do more to keep you safe than others. The Tesla Model 3 is one of those cars. A major part of the engineering behind the Model 3's self-driving future was to keep its occupants safe, especially while they wait behind the wheel for that functionality to arrive. The Model 3 earned Good ratings for all six IIHS crash tests, with a Superior rating for vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance, and an Advanced rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance. It's also safer than the Model S tested by IIHS in 2017 that received an Acceptable rating for driver-side small overlap, and a Poor rating for its inadequate headlights. Although not part of the IIHS test, Tesla's Sentry Mode will keep an eye on bumps and bruises that might happen while you're away.


Toyota Camry

Nearing its 40th year anniversary, the Toyota Camry has been the most popular car sold in America for 19 years in a row. Today, every Camry comes with driver-assistance features like lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, active cruise control, and forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking. The safest Camry according to the IIHS is the Hybrid XLE equipped with the $4665 Navigation Upgrade Package. The extra toppings include adaptive headlights that earned a Good rating during testing. The standard LED projectors for other trim levels received an Acceptable rating. Even the cheapest Camry earned better marks than the Honda Civic's Poor rating for LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L models with halogen low-and high-beam headlights.


Volvo S60 and S60 Recharge

If we could recreate how Volvo's crane test came into existence, we think it might've gone something like this: Hey Lars, do you mind if we borrow your crane? We've got 10 new Volvos we want to drop from 100 feet because, you know, it's our job and, well, we just really want to borrow your crane for something. It's no surprise the S60 is rated so highly after being put to a test like that. Standard safety equipment includes forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as lane-keeping assist with departure warning. The S60 and S60 Recharge scored Good and Superior ratings across the board, with an Acceptable rating for child seat anchors. The IIHS deemed the anchors for child seats to be easy to find, but also a little difficult to maneuver.


Volvo S90 and S90 Recharge

The Volvo S90 is one of nine Volvo models that earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award this year. This award applies only to S90 and S90 Recharge models built after September 2020, as Volvo's full-size luxury sedan received a styling update for 2021, as well as some new charging tech inside. The S90's crash mitigation technology passed with a Superior rating, as its standard forward collision system avoided a collision in both 12- and 25-mph tests. Every S90 comes with automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.


Volvo V60 and V60 Recharge

The Volvo V60 is the wagon version of the S60, so the IIHS ratings were identical in all tests. Like the S60, every V60 and V60 Recharge come standard with forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, with lane-keeping assist and departure warning.


Volvo V90 and V90 Recharge

Pile the Top Safety Pick+ award onto the mountain of reasons why wagons are awesome. The Volvo V90 and V90 Recharge received a styling update for 2021, as well as new wireless and USB-C charging features. It's like the double-cheeseburger version of the V60, there's more of what you want here. Same powertrain options, but more passenger and cargo room on the inside. Every V90 comes with standard driver-assistance features like automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode.


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Subaru Outback earns highest safety score against toughest criteria


The Subaru Outback has earned top marks in the toughest round of crash and avoidance tests in the history of the road safety program.


The 2021 Subaru Outback has achieved the highest crash safety scores since the adoption of harsh new testing criteria and higher pass marks.

While the latest Subaru Outback joins hundreds of cars with a five-star safety rating, it ranked higher than other modern vehicles in most of the individual criteria that add up to the total score.

Furthermore, the 2021 Subaru Outback was able to achieve top marks despite lacking a centre airbag between the front seats.


While a number of new cars have required a centre airbag to achieve their recent five star results – such as the Toyota Yaris hatch and Isuzu D-Max ute – the new-generation Subaru Outback is among a growing number of vehicles to earn top marks without a centre airbag (which are designed to protect front seat occupants from head clash in a severe side impact crash).

The new-generation Subaru Outback impressed in a number of areas, according to the report by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), a non-profit organisation largely funded by state and federal governments and which predates Euro NCAP.


Although the crash and avoidance tests were done in Europe, they are done to the same criteria after both safety programs aligned their testing and assessment protocols since 2018.

“The Subaru Outback has comprehensively impressed, achieving the highest scores we’ve seen so far when testing to our current protocols,” ANCAP chief executive officer, Carla Hoorweg, said in a media statement.

ANCAP data showed the all-new 2021 Subaru Outback scored 91 per cent for child occupant protection, 84 per cent for vulnerable road user protection (pedestrians and cyclists) and 96 per cent for crash avoidance technology, out-performing its closest rival in this assessment area by 7 per cent.


“Maximum points were scored by the Outback in lane keep assist and emergency lane keeping test scenarios,” said ANCAP, “and close to full points in the autonomous emergency braking car-to-car scenarios.”

Maximum points were awarded for its protection of pedestrians in upper and lower leg impacts. And the 2021 Subaru Outback also scored full points for its ability to avoid forward collisions with pedestrians through autonomous braking.

“A driver monitoring system is fitted as standard – one of the first production cars to directly monitor the driver’s state of alertness through eye movement, as well as indirectly monitoring through steering inputs,” the ANCAP report said. “This innovative technology is expected to become more mainstream in the coming years.”


As with a small but growing number of SUVs, the 2021 Subaru Outback is fitted with reverse emergency braking “to prevent reversing collisions with pedestrians.”

However, the Subaru Outback scored poorly in this particular assessment, and ANCAP said it would urge Subaru to make “functionality improvements in future updates” to this technology.

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in late 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.

Read more about Joshua Dowling

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Real stories from real Subaru drivers.

“It was crumpled, smoking and the windshield was shattered.”

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Prom Night Crash

Amanda J., Alexandria, VA

This spring, my baby brother begged to drive my Subaru to prom instead of the family van. I gave in, and I thank God every day that I did. At 3 a.m. that night, he dropped his date off and called to tell me he would be home in an hour. Not 45 min. later, I got another call from him saying, “Amanda, I'm ok.” My heart stopped beating. He said, “I fell asleep and had an accident. Please come get me.” It seemed to take an eternity to get the 5 miles to where he was. I couldn’t help but panic when I saw my car. It was crumpled, smoking, and the windshield was shattered. It was smashed against the northbound barrier wall. Then I saw my brother walking around, seemingly OK. I couldn’t believe it. My brother was unharmed, with the exception of a little bruise where his right knee had hit the center console, but my car was totaled. We found out my brother had been traveling south when he dozed off, hit the southbound barrier, went across two lanes of traffic, the grass hill median, and the two northbound lanes of traffic before crashing into the northbound wall. The scariest news of the night was when our mechanic friend told us, and the cop readily agreed, that if my brother had been driving the van, it would have been a different story. My Subaru saved his life.

Subaru Safety Features Explained (2020 Updated)

The Safest Car Brands In 2021 - Subaru Ties For Most Safety Awards

Which automakers make the safest cars? Subaru, Hyundai, and Volvo have nine models in their lineup with top safety scores for 2021 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek Hybrid, Ascent, and Legacy earn the highest Top Safety Pick+ award. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX earn Top Safety Pick awards.

Why are the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX rated lower than the Forester, Outback, Crosstrek Hybrid, Ascent, and Legacy? The Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX all come standard with a manual transmission, and Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology is not compatible with the manual gearbox.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

The IIHS did not test the performance-tuned 2021 Subaru WRX STI or the BRZ sports coupe.

Subaru models with EyeSight all receive a “Superior” rating in front crash prevention from the IIHS. EyeSight is now standard equipment on all 2021 Forester, Outback, Ascent, Legacy models, and all Crosstrek trims when equipped with the CVT automatic transmission.

The 2021 Subaru Ascent improves its safety rating from the 2020 model year and gets the highest Top Safety Pick+ award after being dinged last year for its headlights. All 2021 Ascent trims now come standard with LED projector headlights.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Subaru has an impressive safety score record

2021 Top Safety Pick + winners
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid (3 consecutive years)
Subaru Forester (15 consecutive years)
Subaru Legacy (16 consecutive years)
Subaru Outback (13 consecutive years)
Subaru Ascent (4 consecutive years)

2021 Top Safety Pick winners
Subaru Crosstrek (with EyeSight and specific headlights) (10 consecutive years).
Subaru Impreza sedan and five-door (with EyeSight and specific headlights) (14 consecutive years)
Subaru WRX (with EyeSight and specific headlights) (8 consecutive years)

Compact SUV, Subcompact SUV, Wagon, 3-Row SUV, Sedan, and Compact car shoppers interested in safety, have a one-stop-shop with the Subaru brand. The Japanese automaker scores nine models, tying Hyundai and Volvo in the latest 2021 IIHS safety ratings.

The 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek Hybrid, Ascent, and Legacy earn the highest marks from IIHS. The automaker remains one of the most prolific car brands for safety in 2021.

You Might Also Like: Is Subaru Forester And Outback Quality Improving? Two New Reports Say Yes

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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