The Cars That Best Help Drivers Avoid A Crash
In the past, automotive engineers focused on creating safety systems that protected drivers in car crashes. In the future, advances like the Google self-driving car will likely remove motorists and their steering wheels from the driving equation. In the present, things are a little murkier.
The truth is, in more subtle ways, drivers have already ceded some control to automated systems. Many vehicles are already equipped with new technology that offers drivers active assistance behind the wheel. Features like adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and automatic braking are more common.
"With advancements happening quicker than ever in the automotive space, not only is safety about what happens when you hit something in your car, but avoiding that scenario entirely," said Akshay Anand, analyst at Kelley Blue Book. Sold under a variety of brand-specific names, these systems can at once be alluring, confusing or even repellent to consumers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has developed a new method for assessing the effectiveness of safety systems that deliver automatic braking capability.The nonprofit organization recently released results from the testing of 24 luxury SUVs and sedans.
Head through the gallery to see which vehicles tested the highest.
Superior Pick: Chevrolet Impala
Sticker Price: $26,910 - $39,635
Invoice Price: $25,968 - $37,851
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 31 mpg Highway
The Chevrolet Impala is one of the best large sedans on the market right now. It's good looking, comes with a great interior, has a silky smooth ride and comes with a potent 195-horsepower engine.
When equipped with its Collision Mitigation Braking, the Impala is a superior pick for front-collision avoidance.
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Superior Pick: Cadillac XTS
Sticker Price: $44,600 - $69,095
Invoice Price: $42,147 - $64,604
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway
The XTS is Cadillac's largest and most expensive sedan. It comes with an elegant interior, loads of new technology (some good, some bad) and a solid 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine.
The XTS is an excellent option for frontal-collision avoidance with its Automatic Collision Preparation feature.
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Superior Pick: Cadillac CTS
Sticker Price: $39,495 - $69,070
Invoice Price: $37,323 - $64,580
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 27 mpg Highway
The sleek Cadillac CTS, in its sedan form, was completely redesigned last year to include great new looks, new driving dynamics and a new interior. So far, it's been a big hit with reviewers and consumers. The car is carryover in its coupe and wagon forms, however.
With the same Automatic Collision Preparation system as the XTS, the CTS is a superior pick for frontal-collision avoidance.
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Superior Pick: Buick Regal
Sticker Price: $29,690 - $39,270
Invoice Price: $28,502 - $37,699
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway
The Regal isn't your grandfather's Buick. This car is sleek, sporty and fun to drive. Its interior is also remarkable comfortable and quiet, making this both a fun and practical commuter vehicle.
The Regal is available with the same Automatic Collision Preparation feature as the Cadillac CTS and XTS.
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Superior Pick: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Sticker Price: $51,400 - $102,370
Invoice Price: $47,802 - $95,204
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a solid, safe, comfortable and fun vehicle. Available as a sedan, coupe, convertible or wagon, the E-Class can fit almost anyone's tastes and needs. The car was redesigned for 2014, now coming with a more attractive exterior design.
The E-Class is available with a feature called Pre-Safe Brake, which initiates braking if the car senses a collision.
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Superior Pick: Hyundai Genesis
Sticker Price: $38,000 - $51,500
Invoice Price: $35,659 - $47,665
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway
The Hyundai Genesis offers the looks, features and driving dynamics of a midsize luxury vehicle, but for a much lower price. Completely redesigned for 2015, this sleek sedan features either a 311-horsepower V6 or a 420-hp V8 engine, as well as loads of standard comfort and tech features.
Automatic Emergency Braking is available on the Genesis, making it a superior pick for frontal collision avoidance.
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Superior Pick: BMW X5
Sticker Price: $52,800 - $68,200
Invoice Price: $48,575 - $62,745
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg City, 27 mpg Highway
The BMW X5 is a big, powerful SUV that comes with loads of comfortable and convenient amenities. Featuring all-wheel drive and a high ground clearance, it's great for inclement weather and even off-roading, if you're so inclined.
Collision Warning with braking function is an available feature on the X5, making it an excellent choice for frontal collision avoidance.
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Superior Pick: BMW 5 Series
Sticker Price: $49,500 - $51,800
Invoice Price: $45,540 - $47,655
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
The BMW 5 Series is a comfortable, yet sporty luxury sedan. With a powerful 240-horsepower engine and legendary BMW handling dynamics, the 5 Series drives like a sports car, but comes with the practicality, feature set and versatility of a midsize sedan. It's also surprisingly fuel efficient.
The 5 Series is available with the same Collision Warning with braking function feature as the X5.
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Best Of The RestIIHS noted numerous other vehicles that weren't quite "superior" picks, but were still good enough to receive an "advanced" rating when equipped with frontal collision avoidance safety features. Here are those cars:
- BMW 2 Series
- Buick Lacrosse
- Lexus IS
- Audi A3
- Audi A6
- BMW 3 Series
- Dodge Durango
- Lexus GS
- Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
- Infiniti QX50
- Infiniti QX70