Car manufacturers want to be known for making the safest cars out there (just consider that it’s been a staple of Volvo’s reputation for decades). So what, exactly, is an active safety system, especially as compared to a passive safety system? In short, it’s a safety feature in which the car itself actually takes steps to prevent or minimize crashes and crash damage. The car uses different types of cameras and sensors, for example, to warn the driver when the car ahead has stopped suddenly, and will then perhaps even apply the brakes. The passive safety systems in this scenario, such as airbags and seatbelts, can’t prevent a crash, they can only minimize its impact. Let’s take a look at 10 top new cars with active safety systems.
10 Top New Cars with Active Safety Systems
Photo Credit: Volvo
1) 2016 Volvo S80
After that introduction, you knew a Volvo would be coming up quickly. Let’s take a look at the Swedish brand’s midsize luxury sedan, the S80, which comes standard with a whole bunch of active safety equipment. You may have heard of Volvo’s City Safety system, which, when the vehicle is traveling at low speeds, scans the area in front of the car and automatically brakes when an imminent obstruction is detected. Most other active safety equipment on the Volvo S80 is optional, though, and that includes a blind-spot monitor, front and rear parking sensors, driver drowsiness monitoring, and forward collision warning with pre-collision braking. Of course, Volvo’s kept its excellent network of passive safety systems intact, too.
Photo Credit: Audi
2) 2017 Audi Q7
The fully redesigned 2017 Audi Q7 is already making a name for itself in safety. This luxury midsize SUV hasn’t yet completed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s battery of crash testing, but it has gone through the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s tests, coming out with a coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating. The new Q7 also includes a decent list of standard active safety gear, such as a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, and parking sensors front and rear. There’s plenty of optional active safety features, too, of course: traffic sign recognition, a night-vision camera with pedestrian and animal detection, active lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control are all available with this redesigned luxury suv.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
3) 2017 Hyundai Elantra
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is another completely redesigned model with great safety credentials. The Elantra, an affordable small sedan, enters its new generation with a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS and lots of available active safety equipment. Generally, Hyundai is pretty generous with its standard features list, but the inexpensive Elantra is a bit of an anomaly. Although the good stuff is all optional in the Elantra, the base model is affordable enough that adding on extra safety features should be doable for all but the tightest budgets. Available active safety equipment on the 2017 Elantra includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, and pedestrian detection.
Photo Credit: Ford
4) 2017 Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang is a good example of how active safety features have gone more mainstream—the latest version of the Blue Oval’s pony car offers plenty. Though the 2017 Ford Mustang is loaded with technology features, most of its active safety features are considered optional. Considering next year’s Mustang hasn’t yet been rated by the NHTSA or IIHS, springing for a few high-tech safety systems probably isn’t a bad idea (although it’s worth noting that the 2016 Mustang did earn a 5-Star Overall rating from the NHTSA). To get a safer version of this muscle car, add options such as blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Photo Credit: Mazda
5) 2016 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 compact SUV has been refreshed for this year, and the company has made it an even better value. The CX-5 is known primarily for being one of the most fun to drive and affordable options in its class, but it’s also a smart choice in terms of safety, earning a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS this year. Shoppers who are considering a 2016 Mazda CX-5 should pay close attention at the dealership because models made after the year’s halfway point (in other words, 2016.5 versions) come standard with a rearview camera. Also new to the lineup of active safety features this year (though optional): adaptive cruise control, lane- departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
6) 2016 Lincoln MKC
The 2016 Lincoln MKC is another compact SUV with a long list of available active safety features. A rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and Siri Eyes Free all come standard on this upscale sport-utility vehicle, but most of the really desirable active safety systems require an upcharge. Options available for the 2016 Lincoln MKC include blind-spot monitoring, collision warning, lane-keep assist, active park assist, and cross-traffic alert. There’s also the MyLincoln mobile app, which, strictly speaking, isn’t active safety equipment—but it allows you to lock, unlock, and start the MKC right from your smartphone, which is pretty cool. The Lincoln MKC’s crash ratings aren’t as good as some others on this list of cars with active safety systems, so keep that in mind.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
7) 2016 Fiat 500X
The 2016 FIAT 500X, technically a subcompact SUV, is quite a bit larger than the Fiat 500 hot hatch from which it takes its name. However, it’s not so big that you can afford to be lax about safety equipment, and Fiat makes sure to pack in a handful of the most useful options. Though the 2016 500X hasn’t yet undergone the NHTSA battery of tests, it has completed IIHS testing and come out with a Top Safety Pick+ rating. Fiat supplements the 500X with active safety systems like a rearview camera and rear parking sensors (both of which are especially useful in blocky-shaped vehicles like the 500X), blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and lane-departure warning.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
8) 2016 Chevrolet Impala
The Impala is Chevrolet’s large sedan, and the 2016 model makes our list of 10 cars with active safety systems thanks to its comprehensive list of optional safety technology. The Chevrolet Impala’s crash test results are, shall we say, inconclusive this year—it scored a 5-Star Overall rating from the NHTSA, which definitely inspires confidence in the sedan, but it did not undergo all of the IIHS tests. The Impala’s options list features offerings such as a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and forward collision warning. For 2016, Chevy’s also added Apple CarPlay to the Impala—not an active safety feature, true, but it makes it easier for iPhone users to keep their eyes on the road.
Photo Credit: Scion
9) 2016 Scion iA
The 2016 Scion iA is one of our favorite all-new models for this year, and it’s also one of our picks for the top 10 cars with active safety systems. Safety sometimes feels like a matter of concern with budget-oriented small cars, but the compact Scion sedan has earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. Scion’s also known for keeping options to a minimum, by design, which means most of the iA's goodies are standard. In this case, that includes a rearview camera, a low-speed pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking, and dynamic stability control. The Scion iA might not suit buyers who want everything under the sun, but it’s great for buyers who want an easy, solid package at an affordable price ($15,700).
Photo Credit: Honda
10) 2016 Honda Civic
Honda’s fully redesigned 2016 Civic is no slouch when it comes to safety. This affordable compact car available as a coupe, a sedan, and soon, a hatchback, earned perfect crash test scores from the IIHS, plus a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the NHTSA (plus a 5-Star Overall rating). Those features alone aren’t enough to round out our list of 10 cars with active safety systems, though, so let’s get to the higher-tech stuff. A rearview camera comes standard with every 2016 Honda Civic. Options include Honda’s LaneWatch system (essentially a blind-spot monitor) and the HondaSensing package, which bundles features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic pre-collision braking, and lane-keep assist.