These are the safest 2023 vehicles you can buy right now

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Updated Wednesday, January 18, 2023, with new models and additional FAQ.

Learn more about the safest sedans for 2023 here.

Learn more about the safest large trucks for 2023 here.

Learn more about the small SUVs with the best headlights for 2023 here.

Learn more about the midsize SUVs with the best headlights for 2023 here.

We’re now a few weeks into 2023, which means dealers are getting the latest models with new tech, driver aids, and comfort features. Several vehicles for the 2023 model year improve on their predecessors with better features and safety tech, but many carry over equipment from the prior model year.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash tested most of the newest 2023 model vehicles, many of which earned Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick + awards. These vehicles were evaluated across several key categories, such as crash avoidance tech and how easy it is to install and secure car seats.

The QX60 is all-new for 2022.

2023 Infiniti QX60

Top Safety Pick +

The QX60 is mechanically similar to the Nissan Pathfinder and replicates its excellent performance in crash and safety tests. At the same time, the Infiniti performed better than its Nissan counterpart in headlight tests, as it earned a “Good” score over the Pathfinder’s 
“Acceptable” rating.

Standard features are similar to the offering in the Pathfinder as well. The QX60 comes standard with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision warnings, parking sensors, lane departure warnings, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Available kit includes blind spot intervention, traffic sign recognition, driver attention warnings, and more.

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2023 Audi A3, A4, A4 Allroad, A5 Sportback, A6, A6 Allroad, and A7

Top Safety Pick +            

We’re grouping Audis together because of their similar equipment and safety scores, where these vehicles earned a Top Safety Pick + with solid crash test results and excellent crash prevention systems. The only knock against the cars related to specific headlight configurations, which picked up “Acceptable” ratings, depending on the cars’ trim level. That said, the IIHS notes that the standard high-beam assist system adds a layer of safety and improves visibility at night.

Audi offers several standard and available driver assistance features in all three models. Standard ADAS features include forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, a rearview camera, and lane departure warnings. Audi offers parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, a hands-free parking assistant, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, and more as options. The Allroad also comes with adaptive dampers, which aren’t technically a safety feature but improve ride quality, stability, and handling on various surfaces.

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2023 Nissan Pathfinder

Top Safety Pick +

The new Nissan Pathfinder scooped up a Top Safety Pick + award with solid test scores across the board. It also earned the IIHS’ top mark for LATCH system ease of use, giving the Nissan a Good+ score. The only blemish on the Pathfinder’s otherwise sterling safety scores was its headlights. They earned an “Acceptable” score, with fair illumination on the sides of the road.

Subaru Crosstrek

2023 Crosstrek Hybrid

Top Safety Pick +

The Crosstrek Hybrid picked up where its standard gas-powered counterpart left off with a Top Safety Pick + designation. The hybrid variant’s headlights were the determining factor, which picked up a “Good” score. Like the gas version, the hybrid picked up a “Good+” rating for LATCH system ease of use.

2022 Subaru BRZ

2023 Subaru BRZ 

Top Safety Pick +

Subaru’s brand-new sports car took top honors in its first years on the market. The 2023 BRZ joined the 2022 model with a Top Safety Pick +, though it’s worth noting that the award only applies to models equipped with optional crash prevention technology. The car earned “Good” scores across the board and “Superior” scores in crash prevention. The LATCH system earned an “Acceptable” score because the anchors were too deep in the seat. 

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2023 Subaru Crosstrek 

Top Safety Pick                                                     

The Subaru Crosstrek was awarded a Top Safety Pick, which includes “Good” ratings in all crash test categories. Headlights earned “Good” or “Poor” scores, depending on the trim. Lower trims come with halogen reflector headlights that the IIHS says provide inadequate illumination on curves. The Crosstrek’s LATCH system picked up a “Good+” score for ease of use. 

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2023 Kia Sportage 

Top Safety Pick

Kia completely redesigned the venerable Sportage SUV for 2023, which brought a wealth of new tech and excellent safety scores. The Sportage earned a Top Safety Pick for 2023, which includes “Good” scores in all crash test categories. It also earned “Superior” scores for crash prevention systems. Things didn’t go as well for the Sportage in IIHS’ headlight tests, where it got “Acceptable” or “Poor” scores, depending on the trim. The SUV also fell down slightly with LATCH system ease of use, where the IIHS said the car seat anchors are located too deep in the seat.

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2023 Subaru Impreza

Top Safety Pick

The 2023 Subaru Impreza returned similar results to the Crosstrek, where it picked up “Good” scores in all crash test categories but fell down slightly in headlight testing. Because of that and optional crash prevention tech, the IIHS says only certain trims are included in the award.

Standard features are nonexistent. Optional features include EyeSight, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, and automatic high beams.

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2023 Acura Integra

Top Safety Pick +

Acura revived the Integra for the 2023 Model year, and like the old one, the new car shares plenty with the Honda Civic underneath. The Integra scored a Top Safety Pick + designation for its first year back on the market, earning “Good” scores in all crash tests. The IIHS deemed its headlights “Acceptable,” but scored the Integra’s front crash prevention systems “Superior.” The easily daily-drivable hatchback also delivered an “Acceptable” score for its LATCH car seat anchors’ ease of use. 

AcuraWatch safety equipment comes standard, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and pedestrian detection.

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2023 Honda Civic (Hatchback and Sedan)

Top Safety Pick +

The Civic and Acura Integra share much of their underlying engineering, so it’s no surprise to see that the Honda earned the same Top Safety Pick + that its Acura counterpart got. The Civic grabbed “Good” scores in all crash categories except for the new side impact test, where it earned an “Acceptable” score. It also got a “Good” rating for headlights and “Superior” scores for front crash prevention systems. 

Honda Sensing safety tech comes standard. The package includes forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.

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2023 Nissan Altima

Top Safety Pick +

Jokes about rental cars and bad drivers aside, the Nissan Altima is one of the safest cars in the brand’s lineup. The 2023 model earned a Top Safety Pick +, which includes “Good” scores in most crash test areas. In the new IIHS side impact test, the car got a “Poor” score, which the organization says is due to a potential lack of head/neck, torso, and pelvic protection in a crash. 

Nissan equips every Altima with a generous suite of driver aids that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot warnings, lane departure alerts, and a driver attention monitoring system. 

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2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Top Safety Pick

Volkswagen’s iconic hot hatchback is as safe as it is nimble. The car earned a Top Safety Pick award, with “Good” scores in all crash tests. The car’s headlights got an “Acceptable,” “Marginal,” or “Poor” score, depending on the trim and configuration. It earned a “Superior” score for front crash prevention and an “Advanced” rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian.

Every GTI comes with a rearview camera, but most features are held back in the added-cost IQ.Drive package. It brings a semi-autonomous driving assistant, forward collision warnings and automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keep assist, and an emergency assist system for cars with an automatic transmission.

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2023 Volkswagen Golf R

Top Safety Pick +

The Golf R builds on the GTI with more power, but retains the same standard features. Its headlights grabbed an “Acceptable” score, which is where it rose above the GTI in scoring by the IIHS.

Like the GTI, the Golf R’s safety gear is held back in the available IQ.Drive package.

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2023 Subaru Legacy

Top Safety Pick +

Subaru’s midsize sedan brings standard all-wheel drive and grabbed top honors in IIHS testing. The car earned “Good” scores across the board, “Superior” scores for front crash prevention, a “Good” score for seat belt reminders, and a “Good+” score for LATCH ease of use. 

Subaru EyeSight driver assist tech comes standard, which includes adaptive cruise control, distraction mitigation, forward collision warnings, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and more.

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2023 Volkswagen Arteon

Top Safety Pick +

Volkswagen has announced plans to discontinue the Arteon after 2023, but the sleek sedan offers plenty to be excited about in the safety department. The Arteon picked up “Good” scores in all crash categories and even earned a “Good” rating for headlights, an area where many vehicle struggle. Front vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention was scored “Superior,” and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention earned an “Advanced” score.

The Arteon comes standard with numerous advanced driver aids, including blind spot monitoring, forward collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, and more. 

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Genesis G70 1st May 2021 Photo: James Lipman

2023 Genesis G70

Top Safety Pick +

The Genesis G70 might be the best looking car on this list, and it’s certainly one of the safest. It earned a Top Safety Pick + award, with top marks in all crash test categories. The car’s headlights earned “Good” or “Marginal” scores, depending on the configuration, and its LATCH system ease of use earned a “Marginal” rating.

Genesis equips every G70 with a navigation-based smart cruise control system that can change vehicle speed when the system detects a curve or a change in the road ahead. All cars also come with a highway driving assistance system that offers partial hands-free operation, hill-start assist, blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane following assist, lane keeping assist, forward collision alerts with pedestrian alerts and junction assist, safe exit warnings, and driver attention warnings.

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2023 Genesis G80

Top Safety Pick +

The G80 brings Genesis’ typically impressive styling and tech, and it’s at the top of of the safety ratings for 2023. The car earned “Good” scores in every crash-test category, an “Acceptable” score for headlights and LATCH system ease of use, and “Superior” ratings for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Every G80 comes with adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane keep assist, lane following assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, and driver attention warnings.

Other 2023 IIHS Top Safety Picks

We’re updating this list as more models become available. For now, other 2023 vehicles that earned an IIHS designation include:

2023 BMW 5 Series: Top Safety Pick+

2023 Buick Encore GX: Top Safety Pick

2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Genesis GV60: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Honda HR-V: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Mazda CX-50: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Mitsubishi Outlander: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Nissan Rogue: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Ford Explorer: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Nissan Murano: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Nissan Pathfinder: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Volkswagen ID.4: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Volkswagen Tiguan: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Acura RDX: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Acura MDX: Top Safety Pick +

2023 BMW X3: Top Safety Pick +

2023 BMW X5: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Cadillac XT6: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Genesis GV70: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Genesis GV80: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Infiniti QX60: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Audi Q8: Top Safety Pick +

2023 Honda Odyssey: Top Safety Pick+

2023 Ford F-150: Top Safety Pick

How the IIHS Rates the Safest 2023 Cars

The IIHS has increased the rigor of its vehicle crash tests in recent years and may do so again as new safety technologies become available. That means that the safest 2023 cars may not earn the same result if they are tested in a different year.

Top Safety Pick +

To earn a Top Safety Pick +, a vehicle must get “Good” scores in crash tests, an “Advanced” or “Superior” score for crash prevention with available tech, and an “Acceptable” or “Good” score for standard headlights.

Top Safety Pick

Top Safety Pick award winners earn “Good” scores in crash tests, an advanced or Superior rating for front crash prevention with available tech, and an “Acceptable” or “Good” score for optional lights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who runs the IIHS?

A: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is funded by auto insurance companies. That said, it’s an independent nonprofit with a goal to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.

Q: Are bigger cars safer?

A: The IIHS says that a “bigger, heavier vehicle provides better crash protection than a smaller, lighter one.” Even so, studies have shown that heavier vehicles tend to lead to more severe or fatal crashes for people not inside them.

Q: What speed does IIHS use to crash vehicles?

A: The IIHS’ New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests vehicles at a speed of 35 mpg. Different tests are run, including offset frontal crashes, side impacts, and more. 

Q: How many vehicles does the IIHS test each year?

A: According to Car and Driver, the IIHS runs six tests on 50 to 80 vehicles yearly.

Q: These are IIHS scores. What about the NHTSA?

A: The IIHS is funded by the insurance industry, and performs crash tests on most new vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government agency that enforces vehicle standards and monitors the impacts of road and vehicle safety. NHTSA uses star scores, with five being the best.

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