AWD and safety are two factors closely related when it comes to choosing the safest cars on the roads these days. If you take a look at the IIHS 2021 top safety picks for the safest cars offered in 2021, many of them are also AWD which makes them potentially the safest cars money can buy these days.
Starting with compact and affordable cars, the Subaru Impreza was rated with a top safety pick grade which is the second-highest a car can get in these testing. However, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid scored even higher with a top safety pick + grade which is the very best a car can get in these testings.
The new AWD Toyota Camry is one of the safest mid-size cars on sale today because it was also graded with a top safety pick + grade. Both the Lexus ES350 and the Mercedes C-Class also offer the highest safety grading.
If you prefer SUVs, the Volvo XC40 is the safest compact AWD SUV on the market which comes as no surprise as Volvo has always been at the forefront of car safety. However, if you prefer larger SUVs, be sure to check out the Kia Telluride because it also comes with top-notch safety.
The Subaru Impreza is an AWD sedan that ticks a lot of boxes for most customers. It starts around $20k, it comes as standard with AWD and many useful safety technologies, it looks nice and it drives nice-ish. As far as crash regulation testing goes, the Subaru Impreza is at the very top of the segment.
All of this means that the Subaru Impreza is a true best buy when it comes to not only affordable compact sedans but sedans in general. While it may not be the most luxurious sedan in the world, it does offer a lot when you consider the entry price.
When it comes to reliability, Toyota is up there with the all-time most reliable car brands in history. However, that does not mean that Toyota makes one-trick ponies because there are many Toyota models which are also superiorly safe while offering AWD in the process.
The Toyota Camry is just that, and if you consider the entry price is rather competitive for a car from this segment, it’s easy to justify buying the new Camry. The new Camry looks fairly exciting inside and out, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it costs more than what it actually does.
Mercedes C-Class 4Matic
The Mercedes C-Class is one of the most popular Mercedes models in decades which makes it understandable why Mercedes tends to significantly improve on the platform with every newer generation. The very latest C-Class is not yet available in many markets, but that makes the last-gen C-Class a great deal.
Out of the entire executive German compact sedan trio, the C-Class offers the highest safety standards, while the Audi A4 offers the best AWD system. However, either of these should be safe enough for most people and in most instances.
The Volvo XC40 is a compact SUV/Crossover which means that it sits in the most popular car segment right now. All Volvo products have always been extremely safe as Volvo takes pride in making some of the safest transportation devices on earth.
Even though the XC40 is not exactly exciting, but it does offer a reliable AWD system and the highest degree of in-car safety. Pretty much every test the XC40 was part of was graded with the highest grade possible which makes the XC40 one of the safest cars on the planet right now.
Kia has been on a roll recently with the release of many upscale models which are of higher quality while still being relatively affordable, safe, and reliable, and the large Telluride SUV is no different. Thanks to a fairly commanding-looking exterior and interior design, the Kia Telluride punches way above its weight.
It’s important to remember that the Telluride does not come with AWD as standard which means that you will need to upgrade to a higher trim level. Weirdly, Kia has not made the Telluride AWD as standard, but it’s important to remember that the Telluride is not a luxury SUV. If you want the safest AWD luxury SUV, go for the Volvo XC90.
How does AWD impact safety?
AWD cars tend to be safer because they offer more traction no matter the surface. This is most apparent on icy and snowy surfaces. Most AWD cars are also equipped with sophisticated software solutions which are designed to send power in a predictable and controlled manner.
All of this translates to a more cohesive and safer driving experience. However, it’s important to remember that AWD cars can sometimes offer a false sense of security, especially so if you don’t replace your tires as recommended by the manufacturer.
Is AWD more important than a set of decent winter tires?
An AWD system is more or less useless if your car is not equipped with a decent set of tires. Moreover, as AWD cars tend to be heavier, an AWD car without a set of decent tires can often seem more dangerous. It’s paramount to use decent tires on your car, no matter if it’s RDW/FWD or AWD.
During the summer months, the necessity of decent tires still exists, but it’s not as important as it is during the winter months. To be safe throughout the year, always use a recommended set of tires for each respective part of the season.
What makes a car safe?
Many aspects go into car safety and most of them are government-mandated which means that manufacturers are unable to sell cars that don’t comply with certain safety standards. That’s the minimum level of safety all cars need to adhere to in order to be accessible to the public.
Above that, advanced software solutions such as collision prevention, pedestrian detection, and other ADAS are the most important safety factors for modern-day vehicles. Some brands tend to offer their take on certain safety concepts, and sometimes they are useful, sometimes they are just gimmicks.