When looking for a car, people have different ideas about what's important. Some base their decision on performance or handling; some look to see how much trunk or cargo space there is; and some want to be seduced by sleek exterior design (we're guessing some Mercedes dealers have been shooing away lookie-loos from the CLS, lest they drool all over the paint job).
All these approaches are valid, but the one thing most people can agree on that is important in deciding on an automobile is safety. How well will your car protect you in case you're involved in a collision? You certainly don't want to find out the answer to that question yourself, so you let the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety do that testing for you.
CNN Money recently profiled 13 of the top-rated safest vehicles for 2007, based on the insurance institute's findings. Running down the list, we see that the Acura RDX (pictured) and Honda Pilot get high marks for its use of electronic stability control; that feature is only an option in the Subaru Forester, which otherwise gets good marks.
Audi's A4 made improvements to its seats, which earned it an award this year; its sibling, the A6, scored only “acceptable” last year in whiplash protection, but thanks to some tweaking by Audi's engineers, this year its rating increased to “good,” and so it's recommended by the IIHS.
The South Korean twins, the Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona minivans, scored well—CNN opined that the Sedona “has a smooth and quiet ride, comfortable interior and solid build quality.”
Underscoring its reputation for safety, Subaru gets three models on the list this year: the Forester, the Legacy, and the love-it-or-hate-it-for-its-looks B9 Tribeca. Another marque with a reputation for “safety first,” Volvo, enters the pack with its XC90 SUV. Two other European manufacturers round out the list: Volvo's fellow Swedish carmaker, Saab, with the 9-3, and Mercedes-Benz's small SUV, the M-class.