Statistically speaking, travel by automobile is one of the most dangerous forms of transportation. Driving is such an everyday occurrence in our daily lives that we do not think much about the dangers, but that doesn't mean when it comes time to buy a new car that we cannot do our best to arm ourselves against the hazards of the road. Life changes can also by a catalyst for taking a good hard look at vehicle safety ratings, such as a growing family, longer commute times, or even being in an accident.
Safety advancements have made cars safer than they have ever been and technology continues to make evolutionary contributions to the survivability of accidents. The truth is -- because of safety standards and technology -- even vehicles with a relatively low safety ratings are safer than many cars built as little as 15 or 20 years ago.
Safety is not just about survivability in an accident. It is also about reliability, security, and all-weather capability. A car that leaves you stranded along side the road has put you in a very unsafe situation, especially if driving conditions are less than favorable. If you currently researching your next new car purchase and safety is paramount, you will find on our list a variety of vehicles that all rank highly in both overall safety and reliability. Keep in mind that our rating system averages several attributes to get a composite rating (see "Computing the Rankings" below), so some cars with excellent stand-alone safety ratings (i.e. Volvo) may not appear on the list as frequently as expected.
Computing the Rankings
A total of 10 cars were selected as safe vehicles. Vehicles were chosen based primarily on safety ratings, safety features, reliability, available drive system, driving characteristics, and child friendliness. Vehicles on this list scored very well in collision testing and feature advanced safety features and equipment. Also taken into consideration were driving characteristics such as all-wheel-drive, ride height, view of the road, and the overall child friendly aspects of a vehicle. Child friendly vehicles tend to be safer vehicles because additional considerations have been made for the safety of child passengers.
Our Safest Car Pick: 2008 Ford Taurus
The 2008 Ford Taurus edged out the Jeep Commander, which was our top safety pick during the 2007 model year. The 2008 Ford Taurus came tantalizingly close to earning a perfect 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The car scored 5-stars in all frontal and side crash tests, but missed the 5-star mark in rollover testing by a slim margin. The standard safety features in addition to available all-wheel-drive was enough to put the Ford Taurus above the competition.
The 2008 Ford Taurus is a 4-door, 5-passenger sedan equipped with a 3.5L V-6 production 263-hp. The engine has enough power to make the Taurus feel responsive and confident, which also added to its safety appeal. The V-6 is backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive on all trims. Starting MSRP comes in at MSRP $23,245, a $210 increase over the 2007 Ford Five Hundred, which the Ford Taurus replaces.
Top 10 Safest Car List:
1. 2008 Ford Taurus / Mercury Sable
MSRP From: $23,245
MSRP From: $27,415
MSRP From: $28,520
4. 2008 Lincoln Town Car
MSRP From: $45,040
5. 2008 Infiniti FX
MSRP From: $38,050
7. 2008 Volvo V70
MSRP From: $32,465
8. 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis
MSRP From: $25,280
9. 2008 Chrysler Town & Country
MSRP From: $22,825
10. 2008 Toyota Highlander
MSRP From: $27,300
Click here to see more top 10 cars.