These Used Cars Are Remarkably Unsafe
  • Image Credit: Gary Cameron / Reuters

These Used Cars Are Remarkably Unsafe

Cars have gotten a lot safer, but older cars can't. As they age, their safety decreases in relation to ever-safer new vehicles. The cars, trucks, and vans on this list compound this problem because they scored poorly in IIHS safety tests when they were new. Many of these vehicles are still on the road, and they might be worth avoiding if safety is your top priority when shopping for a used car.

According to 247WallStreet, which reviewed IIHS data from cars that were in production during the 2005 model year or newer, these are some of the least-safe vehicles you could buy at the time. Only cars that received the two lowest scores in the front or side impact scores were included.

If you want to see which vehicles hold this dubious honor, click the image above. 

Dodge Neon
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2000-2005 Dodge Neon

The second-generation Dodge Neon was also known as a Plymouth and a Chrysler, but all suffered from sub-par IIHS crash ratings when new. In particular, the Neon scored poorly on side impacts and in terms of head restraint performance. The Neon was discontinued in 2005.
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GMC Safari
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

1996-2005 GMC Safari

The GMC Safari was already an older vehicle by 2005, and while it had mass on its side (larger and heavier vehicles tend to be safer), this van received a poor rating on the important front moderate overlap test, and for its unsafe seat and head restraint designs. The very similar Chevrolet Astro scored similarly.
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GMC Sierra
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2001-2006 GMC Sierra Pickup

This pickup, and its mechanical twin the Chevrolet Silverado, are known by the internal code GMT800. In contemporary crash tests, it received poor marks for seats and head restraints, and moderate marks for front impact tests.
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Hyundai Accent
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2006-2011 Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent was an inexpensive, basic car, always a disadvantage from a safety perspective. But the Accent received the lowest possible ratings in IIHS testing at the time for side impacts, head restraints, and seats. This model was significantly improved for the 2012 model year, when it was redesigned.
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Kia Optima
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2001-2005 Kia Optima

Large family sedans can be a safe choice, but unfortunately the 2001-2005 Kia Optima scored poorly on side impact tests. This model also had low scores for head restraints and seats. This doesn't have much to do with the brand-new Kia Optima, which is highly rated in IIHS tests.
Research the Kia
Kia Rio
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2006-2009 Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is mechanically related to the Hyundai Accent, so it's no surprise it's on the list as well. Like the Accent, it scored poorly in IIHS testing for side impacts, seat design, and head restraints. And like the Accent, when it was redesigned in 2012 it did much better in IIHS testing.
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Mazda MPV
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2000-2006 Mazda MPV

Mazda's mildly sporty minivan was already a bit of an oddball. When tested by the IIHS, the MPV bombed the side impact test and had issues with head restraints. It's probably no surprise that Mazda didn't replace the MPV after it was discontinued in 2006, then.
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Nissan Sentra
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2000-2006 Nissan Sentra

The Sentra was never the most exciting compact sedan on the market, and between 2000-2006 it wasn't one of the safest, either. Notably, side impact tests revealed a high potential for head injury. The Sentra cleaned up its act in 2007. 
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Pontiac Grand Am
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am

One of GM's sportiest mainstream front-drivers, the Pontiac Grand Am was perhaps its deadliest, too. The Grand Am had the dubious honor of holding the record for most midsize two-door car fatalities from 2002-2005. It also performed poorly on the moderate front overlap test.
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Saturn L-Series
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2002-2005 Saturn L-Series

The Saturn L-Series never made much of an impact in the sedan market, and mediocre safety ratings didn't help things any. The IIHS rated the 2002-2005 L-Series poorly in side impact, head restraint, and seat tests. Despite a heavy facelift, the model was gone just five years after introduction.
Suzuki Forenza
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2005-2008 Suzuki Forenza

One of the most obscure sedans sold in recent memory, the Forenza was really a re-badged Korean Daewoo sold by Suzuki here and as a Chevrolet in other markets. Its pedigree is confusing but its safety ratings aren't: It received the worst score the IIHS could give it for side impact crashes.
Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • Image Credit: Autoblog

2003-2005 Suzuki Grand Vitara

SUVs are generally safe in the particular crash tests that the IIHS conducts, partly due to the simple physics involved. But a small SUV doesn't really have the mass to overcome its other limitations. The Grand Vitara showed an unfortunate propensity to allow head injuries in side impact testing.
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