While we’re all tempted to buy cars based on aggressive looks, awesome horsepower figures or fuel-sipping numbers at the pump, the first concern is always safety. So with that in mind, we’ve listed all 2013 IIHS Top Safety Picks and highlighted our top recommendation in every segment.
autoMedia Pick: Ford Fiesta. If you’re in the market for an affordable small car, the Honda Fit gets recommended most because it offers truly great utility. But the 2013 Ford Fiesta has it beat in both exterior and interior design, driving performance, price and fuel efficiency. Once you make a list like that, the choice seems obvious.
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autoMedia Pick: Hyundai Elantra. Here, the waters get quite a bit muddier. This category features everything from sports coupes to off-road wagons. But no matter what kind of car you’re looking for, it all comes down to quality in the end, and the 2013 Hyundai Elantra has that. There has probably never been a better combination of build quality, interior luxury, fuel efficiency, reliability and safety in an affordable car. There is a lot of good in this list, but the Elantra is truly great.
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autoMedia Pick: Nissan Altima. With eleven Top Safety Picks+ in this category, you can't really go wrong. But the 2013 Nissan Altima is all right. Ahead of the four-door coupe curve, pushing the limits of midsized fuel efficiency and priced just right, the Altima has character to set it apart from its good but too-similar competition. The Fusion nearly won here, but we’ll reserve judgment until those dubious fuel economy figures are cleared up. Find local Nissan Altima Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values
autoMedia Pick: Volvo S60, Acura TL. Ok, so we chose two cars in this category, but there’s a very good reason. The IIHS instituted a new crash test late last year, one that collided with the car on the front 25-percent corner at 40mph. The IIHS found that one-quarter of all serious injury and fatal crashes occur this way, but it took until 2012 to actually design a test that mimicked it. Most cars here, despite being named Top Safety Picks, struggled with the test. Only the Volvo S60 and Acura TL earned a “Good” rating. So with these two, you know you’re paying for true safety, and not safety designed to pass a very specific test that neglects real-world practicality.
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autoMedia Pick: Buick Regal. Against all odds, what General Motors has done with the Buick brand is nothing short of phenomenal, and the Regal is probably the best in the lineup. It has luxury and value to rival the Hyundai, power to rival the Dodge and Ford, and efficiency to rival the Toyota. No other car on the list even comes close to matching that versatility. This was an easy choice.
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Honorable Mentions: Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, Toyota Avalon
autoMedia Pick: Hyundai Genesis. If you’re willing to spend the money, the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class are top of the pile here with their lush interiors and powerful drivetrains. However, if you live in the real world, you can't beat the value of the Genesis. No one thought it was possible to make a true luxury car at that price, but its amenities and presence on this list affirms that you can, indeed.
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autoMedia Pick: Mazda CX-5. There’s just no question that this is the most fun you can have in an SUV for $30,000. Whether you want the base version or the fully loaded all-wheel drive one, if you care at all about driving dynamics, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is the choice for you.
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Honorable Mentions: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Patriot, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Tiguan
autoMedia Pick:Jeep Grand Cherokee. Among many excellent competitors in this segment, the Grand Cherokee rises above for its ability to combine value, power and fuel economy in a chassis that is by far the most off-road capable. The SUV segment has grown to include cars that just happen to be big, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee stays true to the essence of buying a large vehicle because you intend to use it.
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Honorable Mentions:Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Durango, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, Ford Flex, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Subaru Tribeca, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Venza
Midsize Luxury SUV
autoMedia Pick: Audi Q5. In a high-volume category that is growing more and more with each model year, it’s hard to stand out. But the 2013 Audi Q5 stands apart thanks to an opulent interior and dynamic handling from the Quattro all-wheel drive setup. The Infiniti EX also deserves a mention for its impressive performance, but the Q5 is the prize here. Find local Audi Q5 Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values
autoMedia Pick: Buick Enclave. Another huge victory for Buick in a category comprised almost entirely of General Motors products, the Enclave looks great inside and out and provides an impressive level of luxury without breaking the bank.
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autoMedia Pick: Honda Odyssey. The 2013 Honda Odyssey is everything you’d expect from a minivan, plus a couple of things that you wouldn't. Accessibility and cargo space are both impressive, but so is the 3.5L V6 engine and light-footed athleticism for its size.
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autoMedia Pick: Ford F-150. It’s a little surprising to see only three pickup trucks earn the Top Safety Pick honor, but the Ford F-150 would have won out anyway so for the purposes of this list, it doesn't matter much. The 2013 F-150 is everything that comes to mind when you think of American trucks. There is an incredible range of trims to choose from, but no matter which F-150 you buy, you’re going home with an extremely capable truck that can handle whatever you throw at it. That’s what trucks are all about after all, right?
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