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Safest Cars in Canada

Safest Cars in Canada

When it comes to vehicle safety, there are two main factors to consider: crashworthiness and crash avoidance. Crashworthiness refers to how well a vehicle protects its occupants during a collision through its structural design, airbags, and safety cell construction. Crash avoidance, on the other hand, focuses on technologies that help prevent accidents from occurring in the first place, such as forward collision warning systems, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warnings.

Safety ratings from organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluate both crashworthiness and crash avoidance capabilities. These ratings are determined through rigorous crash testing and assessments of safety features. Vehicles that perform exceptionally well across multiple test criteria earn top safety awards like the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation.

While advanced safety technologies play a crucial role, a vehicle’s size and weight also contribute to its overall safety. Larger, heavier vehicles generally offer better protection in collisions due to their greater mass and stronger structural designs. However, smaller cars can still achieve high safety ratings by incorporating robust safety cells, advanced restraint systems, and crash avoidance features.

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The Importance of Vehicle Safety Ratings

When it comes to choosing a safe vehicle, referring to reputable safety ratings is crucial. Two major organizations, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), provide comprehensive safety evaluations for new vehicles sold in Canada.

The IIHS is an independent, non-profit organization funded by auto insurance companies. They conduct a series of rigorous crash tests to evaluate a vehicle’s crashworthiness and crash avoidance capabilities. Vehicles that perform exceptionally well in these tests are awarded the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation.

The NHTSA, a government agency, also performs crash tests and assigns star ratings from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the highest safety rating. Their tests include frontal, side, and rollover evaluations, as well as assessments of advanced safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

While these ratings focus on different aspects of vehicle safety, they share the common goal of helping consumers make informed decisions when purchasing a new car. High safety ratings not only indicate a vehicle’s ability to protect occupants in a crash but also its potential to help prevent accidents through advanced safety technologies.

Consulting safety ratings from both the IIHS and NHTSA is essential when prioritizing safety, as they provide a comprehensive picture of a vehicle’s overall safety performance. By choosing a highly-rated vehicle, Canadian drivers can have greater peace of mind and confidence on the road.


2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Winners

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to reducing losses from motor vehicle crashes. Each year, they put the latest vehicles through a rigorous series of crashworthiness evaluations to determine the safest models on the market.

To qualify for an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ award in 2023, a vehicle must earn good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests – driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It must also be available with a front crash prevention system that earns advanced or superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

Here are the Canadian models that met the Top Safety Pick+ criteria for 2023:


  • Small Cars: Honda Civic (sedan and hatchback), Mazda 3 (sedan and hatchback)
  • Midsize Cars: Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry
  • Large Cars: Genesis G80, Nissan Maxima
  • Small SUVs: Ford Bronco Sport, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Taos
  • Midsize SUVs: Ford Explorer, Ford Maverick, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, Subaru Ascent
  • Large SUVs: Acura MDX, Genesis GV80
  • Minivans: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna


These Top Safety Pick+ winners performed exceptionally well in IIHS crash tests and offer advanced driver assistance technology to help prevent collisions. The crashworthiness and crash prevention capabilities of these models provide outstanding protection for vehicle occupants.


Safest Small Cars

When it comes to small car safety, a few standout models lead the pack for Canadian drivers in 2023. The Honda Civic continues its reign as one of the safest compact cars you can buy. The latest Civic earned top “Good” ratings from the IIHS in all six crashworthiness tests, as well as a Superior rating for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention systems.

Another top safety pick for small cars is the Subaru Impreza. The Impreza’s ring-shaped reinforcement frame, advanced airbag system, and all-wheel drive capability helped it score the highest possible Good ratings in IIHS crash tests. It also received Superior ratings for its standard EyeSight driver assist technology.

Other small car standouts for safety include the Kia Forte, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. These models offer robust occupant protection and are available with advanced safety tech like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring. When shopping for a safe small car, be sure to prioritize models with top IIHS safety ratings and the latest driver assistance features.


Safest Midsize Cars

When it comes to midsize cars, there are several standout models that offer exceptional safety ratings and features for 2023. The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Subaru Legacy are among the top picks for the safest midsize sedans on Canadian roads.

The 2023 Toyota Camry has earned the highest possible safety rating from the IIHS, being named a Top Safety Pick+. It scored top “Good” ratings in all six crashworthiness tests, including the challenging new side impact evaluation. The Camry also has superior ratings for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention systems. Additional safety tech like lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert help drivers avoid accidents.

Another midsize sedan that excels in safety is the 2023 Honda Accord. Like the Camry, it secured IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status thanks to “Good” crashworthiness scores across the board. The Accord’s standard Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. Its body structure and advanced airbag systems provide excellent occupant protection in collisions.

For buyers who want an extra dose of all-weather capability, the 2023 Subaru Legacy is a midsize sedan to seriously consider. In addition to superb safety ratings, it offers standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The Legacy earned top IIHS scores for crashworthiness and its EyeSight driver assist technology, which helps avoid front crashes through pre-collision braking and other preventative measures. Its strong roof and body structure provide maximum protection for passengers.


Safest Large Cars

When it comes to large cars, several models earned top safety ratings for 2023 that Canadian drivers should consider. The Kia K5 and Genesis G80 stood out as some of the safest large sedans on the market.

The Kia K5 received the highest possible Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS. It performed exceptionally well in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests, including the challenging driver-side small overlap front test that mimics hitting a tree or utility pole. The K5 also earned top “Superior” ratings for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention systems.

Another standout is the Genesis G80 luxury sedan, which was named a Top Safety Pick+ for 2023. It earned top “Good” ratings across all IIHS crashworthiness tests. The G80’s superior front crash prevention systems, along with its “Acceptable” and “Good” headlight ratings, allowed it to meet the highest tier of safety awards.

Other large cars that made the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list include the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, and Lexus ES350. These models demonstrated superior occupant protection and crash avoidance capabilities to keep drivers and passengers as safe as possible.


Safest Small SUVs

When it comes to small SUVs, several models stand out as the safest choices for Canadian drivers in 2023. The Mazda CX-5 consistently earns top crash test ratings and offers advanced safety tech like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart brake support. It’s a Top Safety Pick+ winner from IIHS.

Another top-rated small SUV is the Subaru Forester, with its excellent all-around visibility, EyeSight driver assist technology, and robust construction. The 2023 Forester achieved top “Good” ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness tests. Its standard rear automatic braking and pedestrian detection features also boost its safety credentials.

The Hyundai Tucson is a compelling option as well, nabbing a Top Safety Pick+ award. It comes equipped with Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of safety technologies like forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning. The Tucson’s safety cell construction and suite of airbags provide outstanding occupant protection.

Other small SUV standouts include the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Volkswagen Tiguan. With their combination of robust engineering, smart safety systems, and strong crash test performance, these vehicles give Canadian drivers confidence and security on the road.


Safest Midsize SUVs

When it comes to midsize SUVs, the Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander stand out as two of the safest options on Canadian roads for 2023. The Outback earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award thanks to its Superior ratings in crashworthiness tests and available advanced safety tech like EyeSight driver assist.

Standard safety features on the Outback include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Its rigid construction and advanced safety cell help protect occupants in a crash. The Outback’s impressive all-around visibility and capable all-wheel drive add to its safety credentials.

The Toyota Highlander is another midsize SUV leader when it comes to safety. It achieved Top Safety Pick+ status from IIHS by scoring the highest possible ratings in all six crashworthiness tests. The Highlander also comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ suite of active safety systems.

This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Toyota’s Safety Connect system provides emergency assistance at the touch of a button. With its durable construction and plethora of advanced safety tech, the Highlander provides exceptional passenger protection.


Safest Large SUVs

When it comes to the safest large SUVs on the market for 2023, the Hyundai Palisade stands out as a top choice for Canadian families. The Palisade earned top “Good” ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests, including the challenging driver-side small overlap front test. It also received a “Superior” rating for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention systems.

Another highly-rated large SUV is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee aced all IIHS crashworthiness tests and comes equipped with advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Its solid construction and well-designed crumple zones provide excellent occupant protection in the event of a collision.

The Ford Expedition is yet another large SUV that excels in safety ratings. It earned top scores across the board in IIHS testing and offers an array of available driver assistance technologies. These include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and a neat “split view” front camera system to help avoid obstacles on the road ahead.

For those seeking a luxury large SUV with top safety credentials, the Lincoln Navigator is an excellent choice. It shares its robust underpinnings with the Ford Expedition but wraps it in an upscale cabin with premium materials. The Navigator achieved the highest possible ratings in IIHS safety evaluations and comes stocked with advanced safety tech as standard equipment.


Safest Minivans

When it comes to hauling families safely, few vehicle types can match the combination of safety ratings, advanced tech features, and interior space offered by today’s minivans. For Canadian drivers seeking maximum protection and peace of mind, models like the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica stand out as the safest minivan choices for 2023.

The Honda Odyssey is a perennial leader in minivan safety, earning top ratings from both IIHS and NHTSA. It was one of only four minivans to receive a 2023 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, thanks to exemplary crashworthiness across all tests and top-tier crash prevention technology. The Odyssey boasts standard Honda Sensing driver assists like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and more.

Another standout is the Chrysler Pacifica, which matched the Odyssey’s IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ credentials for 2023. It scored the highest possible “Good” ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests, as well as top grades for its crash avoidance capabilities. The Pacifica offers a full suite of standard safety tech like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and parking assistance.

With sliding side doors, versatile interiors, and robust construction, both the Odyssey and Pacifica provide exceptional passenger protection along with the practicality modern families need. Their strong performance in the industry’s most rigorous safety tests solidifies these minivans as the class leaders for keeping occupants safe on Canadian roads.


Automakers with the Safest Lineups

When it comes to consistently producing some of the safest vehicles on the road, certain automakers stand out above the rest. These brands have made safety a core part of their engineering and design philosophies, equipping their lineups with advanced crash protection and driver assistance features.

At the top of the list is Volvo. Safety has been ingrained in Volvo’s DNA for decades, with innovations like the three-point seatbelt and reinforced roof strength. In 2023, multiple Volvo models like the XC90, V90, and S90 earned IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards. Volvo’s City Safety suite of collision avoidance tech is standard across the lineup.

Subaru is another brand renowned for safety. The Japanese automaker’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and ring-shaped reinforcement frame provide excellent stability and crash protection. Subaru had six models receive Top Safety Pick+ in 2023, including the Outback, Ascent, and Legacy. EyeSight driver assist technology also comes standard.

Honda continues building on its reputation for safety leadership. Advanced body structures, crash-stroke engineering, and Honda Sensing suite help protect occupants. The Civic, Accord, CR-V, and Pilot were all 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners, showcasing Honda’s safety prowess across segments.

Other automakers with multiple safe picks include Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, Mazda, Toyota, and Lexus. When prioritizing safety, it’s wise to start your search with brands that have a proven commitment to occupant protection.


Most Advanced Safety Technology

When it comes to the most cutting-edge safety features available, certain automakers are leading the pack in Canada. Luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla have been at the forefront of developing and implementing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that can dramatically reduce collision risks.

Some of the most impressive safety tech available includes automatic emergency braking, which uses sensors to detect imminent collisions and automatically apply the brakes to prevent or mitigate a crash. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert warns drivers of vehicles in their blind zones, helping avoid sideswipe accidents. Lane keeping assist gently nudges the vehicle back into its lane if it begins to drift over the line unintentionally.

Adaptive cruise control maintains a safe following distance from the car in front, braking automatically as needed. Forward collision warning alerts the driver to an impending impact so they can take action. Many vehicles now also come with pedestrian detection capabilities to prevent tragic collisions with people crossing the road.

While these features were once only found on high-end luxury models, they are increasingly becoming standard equipment across mainstream brands like Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Hyundai/Kia. The widespread adoption of ADAS is already saving lives and preventing countless collisions on Canadian roads every year.


Safety vs Vehicle Size and Weight

When it comes to vehicle safety, size and weight are major factors that cannot be ignored. Generally speaking, larger and heavier vehicles tend to offer better occupant protection in a collision compared to smaller, lighter models. This is due to basic physics – a bigger, more massive object has more force to withstand an impact.

In a head-on collision between a midsize sedan and a large pickup truck or SUV, the sedan’s lighter weight puts its occupants at a distinct disadvantage. The larger vehicle’s greater mass means it can better absorb and distribute the force of the impact, deflecting more of the crash energy away from its occupant compartment.

Heavier vehicles also benefit from having a higher center of gravity and more structure surrounding the passenger cabin. This helps prevent excessive deformation and intrusion into the occupant space during a collision. The extra mass also enhances rollover resistance.

However, it’s important to note that while bigger is often safer, vehicle size is not the only factor determining safety. Crashworthiness ratings, safety technology, and good design can allow smaller vehicles to achieve top safety scores. But all else being equal, the laws of physics give a distinct advantage to the larger, heavier vehicle on the road.


Choosing a Safe Family Vehicle

When transporting children and family members, safety should be the top priority when selecting a vehicle. Here are some tips for choosing the safest family car:


Size Matters: Larger, heavier vehicles tend to provide better occupant protection in a collision. Consider a midsize or large sedan, SUV, or minivan over a smaller car. The extra mass helps protect occupants during an impact.

Check Safety Ratings: Always review crash test ratings from organizations like the IIHS and NHTSA. Look for models that earn Top Safety Pick+ or 5-star ratings for overall safety.

Advanced Safety Technology: Cars with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, blindspot monitoring, and other driver assistance features can help prevent accidents. These should be must-haves, especially for teen drivers.

Rear-Seat Safety: Evaluate rear-seat safety features like LATCH anchors for child seats and rear side airbags. Sedans with inflatable rear seatbelts offer enhanced protection.

Cargo Space: Adequate cargo room is important for safely securing loose items during travel. An SUV or minivan may be better than a trunk for hauling sports gear, strollers, etc.

Consider Your Lifestyle: All-wheel drive can improve traction and control in slippery conditions. Higher ride height in an SUV gives better visibility. Think about your driving needs.


The Safest Used Vehicles

While new vehicles incorporate the latest safety innovations, there are still many safe used vehicle options for budget-conscious Canadian drivers. When shopping for a pre-owned car, truck or SUV, pay close attention to safety ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA for that specific model year.

Certain vehicles have maintained exceptional safety scores over multiple years, making older versions smart used buys. For example, the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Outback, and Volvo XC60 have all earned Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ awards from the IIHS for many consecutive model years.

Larger vehicles like the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Tahoe also tend to perform well in crash tests year after year. While the latest driver assistance technology may be lacking, the solid construction and crash protection of recent used models still make them relatively safe choices.

It’s advisable to get a vehicle history report to check if a used car has been in any major accidents. Opt for certified pre-owned vehicles from the manufacturer whenever possible, as these undergo more stringent inspections. Be diligent about having a mechanic fully inspect any used vehicle before purchase.

Ultimately, a well-maintained, gently-used vehicle that has earned top safety scores can provide excellent protection at a lower cost than buying new. Just be sure to research ratings carefully and have the vehicle thoroughly checked out first.


Proper Vehicle Maintenance for Safety

While choosing a vehicle with top safety ratings and advanced technology is crucial, proper maintenance also plays a vital role in keeping you protected on Canadian roads. Even the safest cars can become hazardous if neglected.

Tires are one of the most critical components for safety. Worn or underinflated tires reduce traction, stability, and stopping power, increasing the risk of accidents. Rotate tires regularly and replace them when the tread depth falls below 4/32″. High-quality winter tires are also essential for safe driving during Canadian winters.

Brake maintenance is equally important. Letting brake pads wear down or having brake fluid issues can dangerously increase stopping distances. Get brakes inspected annually and address any issues promptly. Brake problems greatly diminish a vehicle’s collision avoidance capabilities.

Staying on top of manufacturer recalls is another critical aspect of vehicle safety. Automakers frequently issue recalls to address potential defects or safety issues. Ignoring these can leave you vulnerable. Check for recalls regularly and get the free repairs done promptly by your dealer.

Beyond the essentials like tires and brakes, keeping up with general maintenance like oil changes, fluid top-ups, and annual inspections helps ensure all safety systems are functioning properly. A well-maintained vehicle is a safer vehicle, regardless of its initial safety ratings.


Future Safety Technology and Predictions

While today’s vehicles offer impressive safety capabilities, the auto industry is not resting on its laurels. Automakers and tech companies are racing to develop even more advanced technologies that can vastly improve road safety and eventually achieve the dream of virtually eliminating collisions altogether.

One of the most promising areas is self-driving vehicle technology. Companies like Waymo, Cruise, Tesla, and many traditional automakers are making rapid progress on fully autonomous driving systems. These self-driving cars use a suite of sensors, cameras, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to navigate roads without human input far more safely than humans can. While still in development, self-driving vehicles could dramatically reduce the over 90% of crashes caused by human error.

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technology is another frontier. V2X allows cars to “talk” wirelessly to other vehicles, infrastructure like traffic lights, and even pedestrians’ smartphones to seamlessly coordinate traffic flow and prevent collisions. Ubiquitous connectivity and lightning-fast 5G networks will enable this real-time communication.

Advanced driver monitoring systems that track eye movement, head position, and awareness levels could also become standard equipment. If a driver shows signs of distraction or fatigue, the vehicle could automatically take control or safely pull over. Biometric sensors could even monitor for signs of a medical emergency.

Continued innovation in sensor technology like lidar, radar, cameras, and ultrasonic systems will give vehicles even better 360-degree perception. More intelligent emergency braking and steering assist systems will be able to handle an ever-wider range of collision scenarios. And new materials and designs focused on enhanced crashworthiness will offer improved protection.

Looking ahead, the vehicles of the future will be technological marvels far safer than anything on the road today. While perfection may remain elusive, the goal of transportation with virtually zero fatalities is finally within reach.

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Questions About The Safest Cars in Canada

The safest cars in Canada for 2023 as rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) include the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, and Toyota Camry. All of these midsize cars earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, the highest safety designation. They performed well in all crash tests and come with advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.

Some key safety features that make cars safe in Canada include:


– Collision avoidance systems like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring

– Advanced airbags that protect occupants in rollovers and side impacts

– Strong structural integrity to protect occupants in a crash

– Advanced traction and stability control systems

– Headlights that earn a Good or Acceptable rating from the IIHS

– Effective seatbelts and proper anchoring points


Choosing a car with top crash test scores and plenty of the latest safety gear greatly improves protection for Canadian drivers and passengers.

The safest SUVs in Canada as designated by the IIHS for 2023 are:


– Hyundai Palisade

– Honda Pilot

– Jeep Grand Cherokee

– Kia Telluride

– Nissan Pathfinder

– Subaru Ascent

– Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

– Volkswagen ID.4


All of these midsize and large SUVs earned 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honors thanks to good performance in crash tests and ample collision avoidance technology.

Some of the top-rated family vehicles for safety in Canada include:


– Chrysler Pacifica minivan

– Honda Odyssey minivan

– Hyundai Palisade 3-row SUV

– Kia Carnival minivan

– Kia Telluride 3-row SUV

– Nissan Pathfinder SUV

– Subaru Ascent SUV

– Toyota Highlander SUV

– Toyota Sienna minivan


These family haulers all earned 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designations, making them great choices for carrying kids. Their ample safety gear, crashworthiness and size accommodate families well.

Some top safety rated small cars in Canada for 2023 are:


– Honda Civic sedan

– Hyundai Elantra sedan

– Hyundai Elantra Hybrid sedan

– Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid sedan

– Kia Forte sedan

– Mazda 3 sedan

– Mazda 3 hatchback

– Nissan Sentra sedan

– Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid SUV

– Subaru Impreza sedan


These compact and subcompact cars performed well in IIHS evaluations, earning high marks for collision protection and avoidance. Their small size provides good maneuverability without sacrificing safety.

The pickup trucks with the best safety ratings in Canada for 2023 include:


– Ford F-150

– GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab

– Honda Ridgeline

– Nissan Frontier crew cab

– Ram 1500 crew cab

– Toyota Tundra crew cab

– Toyota Tacoma crew cab


These trucks all earned the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS thanks to good crashworthiness and ample advanced driver assistance features. The crew cab versions provide protection comparable to a modern sedan.

Some of the highest-rated electric vehicles for safety in Canada are:


– Audi e-tron SUV

– BMW i4 sedan

– Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV

– Kia EV6 SUV

– Nissan Leaf Plus sedan

– Tesla Model 3 sedan

– Tesla Model Y SUV

– Volkswagen ID.4 SUV


All of these EVs earned either Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ honors from the IIHS for 2023. They combine excellent crashworthiness with advanced collision avoidance tech suitable for modern roads.

Some top-rated luxury vehicles for safety in Canada include:


– Acura TLX sedan

– Audi A6 sedan

– BMW 3 Series sedan

– Genesis G70 sedan

– Genesis G80 sedan

– Lexus ES sedan

– Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan

Volvo S60 sedan

– Volvo S90 sedan

Volvo V90 wagon


These upscale sedans all earned 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards. They provide high levels of advanced collision protection systems paired with structural integrity and effective restraints for passengers.

While most vehicles improve in safety performance each model year, some top-rated older vehicles in Canada include:


Full-size cars:


– Toyota Avalon 2016-2019


Midsize cars:


– Honda Accord 2018-2019

– Subaru Legacy 2019

– Subaru Outback 2019

– Toyota Camry 2018-2019


Compact cars:


– Honda Civic 2017-2019

– Subaru Impreza 2017-2019


These older models match or even exceed the safety of some brand new vehicles. Choosing a recent secondhand car can provide excellent protection for Canadian families on a budget.

Safety equipment can add $2,000-$4,000 CAD to the sticker price of a new car in Canada. However, advanced driver assistance technology comes standard on most new vehicles, even affordable models. Collision avoidance features like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist provide protection comparable to systems on luxury vehicles just 5-10 years ago.

When prioritizing safety, purchasing a car usually makes more sense than leasing in Canada. You can keep a purchased vehicle longer, meaning you can take advantage of improved safety standards over time. Leased vehicles also tend to have more mileage restrictions, which may prohibit long road trips to visit family. If buying used, purchase the newest vehicle possible and verify any important maintenance records.

Two major consumer safety groups that conduct crash testing for the Canadian car market are the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States. IIHS ratings for new model year vehicles come out beginning in the late summer each year. NHTSA adds new crash test data throughout the year. Checking both ratings provides the most complete safety analysis.

Heavier vehicles generally perform better in crashes with lighter cars. However, increased weight can also make vehicles harder to maneuver and stop. Advanced safety features in modern small cars can match or even exceed the protection of older larger models. Prioritize choosing a vehicle with high safety ratings over one with more size and bulk.

Canada’s motor vehicle safety standards closely parallel those in the United States. Canada has adopted regulations very similar to U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as well as compliance test procedures. Many automakers build models for sale in both countries to meet the robust criteria in Canada, the U.S., or both.

Winter snow and ice along with heavy rain at other times of year can impact driving safety in Canada. Choosing a vehicle with all-wheel or four-wheel drive improves traction and control. Stability control systems help prevent loss of control in slippery conditions. Allowing extra stopping distance and driving below speed limits also enhances safety.

Some tips for enhancing safety in an older car include:


– Adding new tires for maximum traction

– Replacing worn out wiper blades for better visibility

– Upgrading headlights for improved illumination

– Replacing depleted brake pads and rotors

– Flushing brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, and other vital vehicle fluids

– Fixing any mechanical problems like oil leaks promptly

– Following the maintenance schedule diligently


Keeping up with repairs helps older cars stay safe on Canadian roads.

White car paint shows up most clearly in low light conditions compared to black, gray, red or blue. Data suggests white vehicles get in slightly fewer accidents. However, bright colors like yellow or orange tend to attract more attention from other motorists. Ultimately, driving cautiously and using safety gear effectively is far more important than exterior paint color.

Transport Canada lists current safety recalls for all vehicle makes and models sold in Canada. The database provides recall alerts along with affected VIN ranges and descriptions of the safety risk. Owners can input a VIN to check for recalls directly impacting their vehicle. Subscribing to recall alerts from the manufacturer provides updates as well.

The front passenger seat is typically the safest seating position in a modern vehicle. Front passengers wearing seatbelts benefit from structural reinforcements and multiple airbags designed to protect occupants in front collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found around 25% fewer crash fatalities for front passengers compared to rear outboard passengers from 2007 to 2016.

When evaluating a used vehicle purchase in Canada, searching the model year and trim provides detailed original specifications. Test drive the specific car to confirm features like traction control, anti-lock brakes and stability assist activate properly. Inspect tires for adequate tread depth and check service records for safety system maintenance. Scan the dashboard to verify all airbags remain intact without warning indicators illuminated as well.

Smart driving habits like avoiding distraction, obeying speed limits, allowing plenty of following distance, signaling properly, and anticipating other motorists enhances safety for all road users. Defensive driving courses teach additional techniques to recognize and respond to hazards. Maintaining alertness and focus remains critical to safe vehicle operation as well.

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