Safest cars to drive for 2020
Safest cars to drive for 2020

Thinking about getting a new ride in the new year? With more and more cars on the road (and more distractions both inside and outside our vehicles), we want to do everything we can to stay safe. First things first, you should always drive according to the rules of the road and the weather conditions. But for added security, car manufacturers are constantly upping their games when it comes to producing vehicles with safety in mind. Here are the safest cars to drive in 2020, plus nine safety features to consider for your next car.

Safest cars to drive in 2020

Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluates and awards vehicles based on how safe they are. Here are this year’s winners for TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+:1

Small cars
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Honda Civic 2-door coupe (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Honda Civic 4-door hatchback (with specific headlights; doesn’t apply to Type R variant)
  • 2020 Honda Civic 4-door sedan (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Elantra 4-door sedan (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Elantra GT 4-door hatchback (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Veloster 2-door hatchback (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Kia Forte 4-door sedan (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Kia Soul 4-door wagon (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Subaru Crosstrek 4-door wagon (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Subaru Impreza 4-door sedan (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Subaru Impreza 4-door wagon (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Subaru WRX 4-door sedan (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Toyota Corolla 4-door hatchback (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Toyota Corolla 4-door sedan (with specific headlights)
TOP SAFETY PICK+:
  • 2020 Honda Civic 2-door coupe (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Honda Insight 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Mazda 3 4-door hatchback
  • 2020 Mazda 3 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid 4-door wagon
Midsize cars
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Honda Accord 4-door sedan (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Sonata 4-door sedan (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Nissan Altima 4-door sedan (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
TOP SAFETY PICK+:
  • 2020 Mazda 6 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Nissan Maxima 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Subaru Legacy 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Subaru Outback 4-door wagon (built after October 2019)
  • 2020 Toyota Camry 4-door sedan
Midsize luxury cars
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 BMW 3 series 4-door sedan (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Volvo S60 4-door sedan (with specific headlights)
TOP SAFETY PICK+:
  • 2020 Lexus ES 350 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4-door sedan (with optional front crash prevention)
  • 2020 Tesla Model 3 4-door sedan
Large cars
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Kia Stinger 4-door hatchback (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
Large luxury cars
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Audi A7 4-door hatchback (with specific headlights)
TOP SAFETY PICK+:
  • 2020 Audi A6 4-door sedan
  • 2020 Genesis G70 4-door sedan (applies only to vehicles built after December 2019)
  • 2020 Genesis G80 4-door sedan
Small SUVs
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Chevrolet Equinox 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Ford Escape 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Honda CR-V 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Kona 4-door SUV (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Tucson 4-door SUV (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Kia Sportage 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Lexus UX 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Lincoln Corsair 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Toyota RAV4 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Volvo XC40 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
TOP SAFETY PICK+:
  • 2020 Mazda CX-3 4-door SUV
  • 2020 Mazda CX-5 4-door SUV (with optional front crash prevention)
  • 2020 Subaru Forester 4-door SUV
Midsize SUVs
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Ford Edge 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Palisade 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Kia Sorento 4-door SUV (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Kia Telluride 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Mazda CX-9 4-door SUV (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)
  • 2020 Subaru Ascent 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
  • 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
Midsize luxury SUVs
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Lexus RX 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)
TOP SAFETY PICK+:
  • 2020 Acura RDX 4-door SUV
  • 2020 Cadillac XT6 4-door SUV (applies only to vehicles built after October 2019)
  • 2020 Hyundai Nexo 4-door SUV
  • 2020 Lexus NX 4-door SUV
  • 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class 4-door SUV (with optional front crash prevention; applies only to vehicles built after July 2019)
Large SUVs
TOP SAFETY PICK:
  • 2020 Audi Q8 4-door SUV (with specific headlights)

For more information on this year’s winners, visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website.

9 car safety features

Even if you decide not to go with one of this year’s safest car winners, there are still safety features you can look out for when car shopping to help protect you and your family. These features can also go by other names (depending on the car manufacturer), but no matter what they’re called, additional safety features can help give you extra peace of mind when driving:

    1. Backup and surround view cameras. Since May 2018, all new cars and small trucks available for sale in Canada are required to have backup cameras installed.2 Backup or rear-view cameras do exactly what it sounds like, they allow you to see what’s behind you when reversing. A surround view camera, on the other hand, provides you with a 360° birds-eye view of your vehicle from overhead, giving you a full picture of what’s around your car.
    2. Lane departure warning. This alerts you to when your car is starting to drift out of your lane. But if you have your turn signal on (as you should when switching lanes!), you won’t receive any warnings.
    3. Lane keep assist. One step up from lane departure warning, lane keep assist will actually self-correct your vehicle to stay in the lane.
    4. Blind spot monitoring. This feature alerts you to any vehicle that is located in, well, your blind spot. Depending on your car, this warning may come in the form of a visual symbol on your side mirrors, an audio warning, or your steering wheel may vibrate. Even with blind spot monitoring, you should still always be manually checking your blind spots when driving.
    5. Adaptive cruise control. If you already enjoy the perks of regular cruise control, this feature kicks it up a notch. Adaptive cruise control will automatically adjust your vehicle’s speed for you. Rather than maintain one constant speed, adaptive cruise control will speed your car up and down in order to keep a safe distance with the car in front.
Did you know? As part of safe winter driving, you should avoid using your cruise control when there is ice and snow. This is because if you lose traction, cruise control could cause your car to speed up and skid. Also, in the winter, you may want to consider turning off your lane keep assist and automatic emergency breaking too, as they could be impacted by weather and road conditions.
  1. Collision avoidance system. This is another type of alert feature. In this case your vehicle will notify you of a potential collision ahead of you, which helps prevent accidents, or at least reduce their severity.
  2. Automatic emergency braking. Taking collision avoidance systems one step further, this feature will automatically apply your breaks in order to avoid a collision.
  3. Rear cross traffic alert. This feature will notify you via visual or audio signals of vehicles coming into your path when reversing.
  4. Parking sensors. These let you know if you’re getting too close to something either in front or behind you and typically also give both an audio and visual warning.

    Although all these features (and many others) are great to have, it’s important to remember that vehicle safety features don’t replace good driving habits. You shouldn’t solely depend on these features when you’re behind the wheel (we don’t have self-driving cars just yet!). Plus, being a safe driver can also help with your car insurance premiums.

    Does a safer car get you a better auto insurance price?

    Car safety features can help you avoid an accident (and in turn, help lower your chances of needing to make a claim), but they don’t necessarily mean that you’ll be paying less in premium.

    Your auto premium is based on a lot more than just your vehicle. For example, also factored into premium calculations are your location and your driving history, including how long you’ve been driving, your license class and driving record. It’s also worth mentioning that added car features can actually make your vehicle more expensive to repair (or replace) due to new technology. However, when car shopping, there are certain vehicle features that can help with your insurance price.

    Cars are only getting more advanced when it comes to keeping us safe, but we also need to do our part. Get familiar with the safety features that your car (or potential car) offers, and always follow best driving practices.


    Coverage your car’s always wanted at a competitive price. Get an auto quote.


    2020 TOP SAFETY PICKS Transport Canada making back-up cameras mandatory in new cars starting May 2018
    2020 TOP SAFETY PICKS Transport Canada making back-up cameras mandatory in new cars starting May 2018