A Decade of Safe Motoring

by Zutobi · Updated Oct 31, 2022

Which of America’s most popular cars is the safest?

Safety is a vital factor to look for when choosing a new car, more than 46,000 people die each year on US roads, and the safer your vehicle is the less likely you are to become one of these unfortunate motorists.

But what is the safest car on the market right now? By analyzing several safety factors for the best-selling cars in America right now, we have been able to determine the safest options on the market. Moreover, we have been able to see which of these cars have improved in their safety over time, and which have fallen away.

Top five safest cars today

1 – Honda Civic, safety score of 9.93/10:

The Honda Civic is the safest popular car on sale in the United States. The affordable Japanese hatchback was just 0.07 points away from a perfect 10/10 score. The Civic scored a maximum of five stars in all three crash tests, and there have been no recalls or investigations.

2 – Toyota Corolla, safety score of 9.44/10:

The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car of all time worldwide and was the second safest car sold in the United States in 2021. The Corolla was only one point shy of a perfect score in the three crash tests, as it only got a 4 out of 5 stars for the rollover crash test.

3 – Toyota Tacoma, safety score of 9.01/10:

The Toyota Tacoma makes it a hattrick of Japanese cars at the top of the safety ratings. The only difference between the Tacoma and Corolla’s scores was a lower frontal scratch score.

4 – Mazda CX-5, safety score of 8.9/10:

The Mazda CX-5 is the fourth safest popular vehicle on sale in the United States right now, the large Japanese SUV scored almost 9/10.

5 – Toyota RAV4, safety score of 8.88/10:

The RAV4 is the third Toyota located in the top five of the safest popular car rankings, there was a near-perfect crash score for the RAV4 as well as little as 20.6 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold.

Safest cars today

Top five safest cars ten years ago

1 – Honda Accord, safety score of 9.21/10:

In its crash tests, the Honda Accord scored perfectly in every test, the only popular car to achieve this in 2011. This propelled it to be the safest car on the market in the United States ten years ago, there were no investigations and under four recalls per 100,000 vehicles.

2 – Nissan Altima, safety score of 9.07/10:

Ten years ago the second safest popular car on sale in the United States was the Nissan Altima, in 2011 it was one of only two cars to score more than nine out of ten. There was only one recall, and it had the second lowest number of complaints, 81 per 100,000 vehicles. However, it missed the top spot as it only scored four out of five stars for frontal and rollover crash tests.

3 – Chevrolet Silverado, safety score of 8.43/10:

The Chevrolet Silverado was the second best-selling car in America in 2011, the pickup truck sold over 400,000 models that year. The thousands who committed to buying it were sitting in a safe truck as it scored well in the crash tests, and there were low numbers of recalls and complaints.

4 – Toyota Camry, safety score of 7.57/10:

The Toyota Camry scored less than eight out of ten, but it still performed well enough to be the fourth safest vehicle sold in the USA ten years ago.

5 – Chevrolet Cruze, safety score of 7.43/10:

The Cruze is the second Chevi to feature in the top five safest cars in America for 2011. It scored better than the three cars ranked above it in crash tests, but there were more than 3 recalls per 100,000 vehicles.

Safest cars ten years ago


  • Lists of the top 25 best-selling cars in America were sourced from Car and Driver for 2021 and from GoodCarBadCar for 2011.
  • Any cars where none or only partial data was available were removed from the overall ranking.
  • All safety scores were sourced from the NHTSA.
  • We gave each vehicle a normalized score out of 10 for each factor, before taking an average of these scores.
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