These Are the Safest Cars You Can Drive, According to a New Study

The safest cars tend to be luxury SUVs…though there were some surprises.

subaru outback gear patrol
Subaru

When it comes to knowing what cars sold in America are safer than others, there’s no disputing that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, are the folks to listen to. Earlier this year, the IIHS released its top safety picks for 2020;  now, the organization is announcing the results from its latest study on driver death rates for 2017 models.

The broad conclusion — perhaps unsurprising to anyone who’s studied physics — is that large SUVs are safer for their occupants than small cars. Among large SUVs, luxury ones tend to be the safest, due to their advanced safety features.

The average vehicle death rate for 2017 models (and mechanically-equivalent ones from the 2015, 2016 and 2018 model years) per million registration years was 36, up from 30 in 2014 (the last time the study was conducted, as IIHS performs it every three years). Below are the safest vehicles using that metric, which scored far lower than the average. Impressively, seven of them had no driver deaths at all.

(A note regarding that metric of “driver deaths per million registered vehicle years” — it’s admittedly confusing, but basically, it seems to suggest that it’s referring to the sum total of vehicles from each model year within that timespan. So, if there were 333,333 2015 GMC Yukons, 333,333 2016 Yukons, and 333,334 2017 Yukons all registered across America, they would add up to one million registered vehicle years. It’s basically an awkward way of saying “amongst all examples of those model-year vehicles on the road.”)

GMC Yukon XL 1500 4WD — 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Infiniti QX60 2WD — 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 4WD — 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Lexus NX 200t 4WD — 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan 4WD – 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Porsche Cayenne 4WD — 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Volkswagen Golf — 0 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Lexus GX 460 4WD — 3 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Subaru Outback — 3 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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Acura RDX 2WD — 4 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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BMW X5 — 4 Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years

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