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2013 Safest Midsized Sedans

by Ryan ZumMallen on

There are dozens of factors to consider when you’re in the market to buy a new car, but perhaps none as important as safety. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to design, performance and price range – but the one thing we can all agree on is that more protection is better. That’s why we’ve compiled this new list, made entirely of mid-sized sedans that have been ranked Top Safety Pick+, the highest honor awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety based on their crash tests. We took all the TSP+ vehicles and selected the ten best, to help you find the right package that you know will provide top safety. Dive in, let us know what you think, and drive confidently.


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Acura TL:  Normally, you get what you pay for. With the 2013 Acura TL, you get a whole lot more. Specifically, you get a handsome and powerful sedan that ranks very high in safety and can compete with the likes of Cadillac and BMW when it comes to luxury. You can’t go wrong with either the 3.5L V6 engine with 280 horsepower, or the 3.7L V6 with 305 hp, especially if you pair the latter engine with the SH-AWD handling package. The 2013 TL ranked Good in all IIHS tests, and if you can get past that polarizing beak up front, the price tag that starts around $36,000 seems like a relative bargain.
   

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Chrysler 200: Though it wouldn't classify as a luxury car, few vehicles on this list feel as comfortable as the 2013 Chrysler 200. For one thing, the interior materials are all top quality and could easily be found in a much more expensive price range. For another, the 2013 200 is dead sexy, with style coming out the wazoo. Chrysler has been selling more and more 200s lately, and one look at the exterior design makes it easy to see why. It’s not all aesthetic, though; the 2013 200 ranked Good in every IIHS crash, except for an Acceptable in the small overlap front test. Pair that peace of mind with excellent handling for its class, and a price range that starts as low as $19,395 and tops out at just $32,820, and the 200 looks as good on paper as it does in person.
   

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Ford Fusion: It drives like a dream, saves gas and looks great – what else is there to consider? Safety, of course. The 2013 Ford Fusion is great where is counts, from power as high as 237 horsepower and fuel economy as strong as 22/34 MPG, to a starting price of $21,900 and a TSP+ rating. The 2013 Fusion scored Good in all crash tests except for Acceptable in the small overlap front test, which places it among the best in the business. Throw in an impressive interior quality, better ride and handling than the competition and those drop-dead gorgeous looks and there isn’t much else to say. Make the 2013 Fusion a must-see on your dealership tour.
   

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Honda Accord: Nothing spells “reliable” like the Honda Accord, and the 2013 version is new and improved and still maintains its extremely high standards for safety. The 2013 Honda Accord sedan ranked Good in every IIHS safety test, easily earning it a place on the TSP+ list. Excellent safety ratings and conservative styling may not make the new Accord seem like the most exciting car ever, but in fact Honda have gone a long way toward making it more fun to drive. Available with either a 185-horsepower 2.4L inline-four, or a 278-horsepower 3.5L V6, the 2013 Accord combines power and economy adeptly. A new suspension provides a smooth ride, but can’t quite overcome soft steering. Still, at just $21,680, the 2013 Accord is an excellent package with the safety qualifications to keep your mind at ease.
   

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Lincoln MKZ: You may be surprised to see this car on the list, considering the beating that it’s taken in the press lately. But the 2013 Lincoln MKZ is actually a very strong combination of luxury, comfort and fuel economy. Most importantly, in terms of this list, it’s very safe. Few luxury sedans earned the TSP+ title, but the MKZ scored Good in all tests and Acceptable in the small overlap front test to pass the highest bar the IIHS offers. Combine that with exceptional reliability ratings, and all of a sudden those detractors are starting to make a lot less sense. The MKZ is another luxury sedan with questionable design, but from the side and rear it’s inarguably handsome. For a $35,925 sticker, Lincoln is offering something that’s both unique and safe – how many other automakers can say that?
   

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Mazda6: One of the biggest joys of the past year has been watching the 2014 Mazda6 come to market. The affordable and sporty sedan can bring a smile to your face from any angle, and that includes the price and safety sheet. The 2014 Mazda6 ranked Good in all tests except for an Acceptable grade in the small overlap front test, creating a spot for it on the TSP+ list. Combined with a dynamic suspension and 2.5L four-cylinder engine that offers 26/38 MPG, it’s a no-brainer to recommend the Mazda6 if you’re looking for something that looks good and rewards the driver. Check out the $20,880 Sport with the fantastic six-speed manual transmission, but honestly the automatic is strong as well. Here’s a car that can back up its aggressive design, and keep you safe in the process.
   

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Nissan Altima: In the threeway race for the best-selling vehicle in America, the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima are quickly gaining on the Toyota Camry. Since those two are both TSP+ picks, it’s easy to see why. The new Altima, in particular, is significantly improved over its previous generation, with an athletic design and excellent interior. The 2013 Nissan Altima also did very well in IIHS testing, scoring Good in all tests and Acceptable in the small overlap front test. It is also rated at 27/38 MPG and sports dynamic handling for its class. With a base price of just $21,760, the 2013 Altima looks ready to storm streets near you, which would actually make them a much safer place.
   

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Subaru Legacy: Not all of the cars on this list are built for mass appeal. The 2013 Subaru Legacy, for example, is built for a certain type of customer and doesn't make concessions. That’s both its biggest weakness and its biggest strength. What you get in the 2013 Legacy is a capable performance vehicle with great handling and standard all-wheel drive, plus the assurance of being rated a TSP+ pick. The IIHS rated the 2013 Legacy as Good in all tests, plus Acceptable in the small overlap front test. Some people aren’t big fans of 173-horsepower four-cylinder or 256-hp flat-6 engines, or their respective 24/32 and 18/25 MPG ratings. But in the 2013 Legacy you have a new sedan that looks great, offers comfort and driver involvement and great safety scores. That may not be for everyone, but for its target market, that’s a match made in Heaven.
   

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Volkswagen Passat: In response to a changing American market, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat changed quite a bit. Thankfully, it changed in all of the right places and kept its strengths intact. Volkswagen went a long way to make the interior more roomy, and the backseat feels more like a large executive saloon than a mid-sized sedan. Handling is also very good, and the whole package is attractive with the $20,845 starting price. The 2013 Passat also earned its TSP+ rating with scores of Good in all tests, and Acceptable in the small overlap front test. This one is big on performance, too, with four transmissions available and up to 280 horsepower on tap. It’s not an Audi or a BMW, but none of those cars are as safe, either.
   

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Volvo S60: You may have noticed a pattern with the other cars on this list. Specifically, that they all earned their TSP+ rating by scoring a Good on three tests and Acceptable on the new small overlap front test. But then along comes Volvo. As you would expect, the 2013 Volvo S60 scored Good on every single test. The amazing part isn’t that Volvo produced an exceptionally safe car; it’s that they produced an exceptionally safe awesome car. The S60 is available with 250 horsepower, but the thrills come quickly with the 3.0L inline-six that boasts 300 hp and 325 lb.-ft of torque. FWD models get up to 30 MPG, while AWD models are an absolute blast to drive. Thanks to Swedish practicality, the 2013 Volvo S60 can be had for as little as $31,900 as well. Being safe doesn't automatically mean you’re boring, and the S60 is the perfect example.

 Honorable Mentions: Acura TSX, Acura TSX Sport Wagon Audi A3, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series Buick Verano, Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Lexus ES 350, Mercedes C-Class, Subaru Outback, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius v, Volkswagen Jetta sedan, Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, Volvo C30, Volkswagen CC