These 2 Automakers Built the Safest 2021 Cars

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Driver adjusting his mirror
Michaelpuche /

As a group, 2021 model vehicles are safer than their predecessors, according to new rankings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Two manufacturers — Volvo and Hyundai — earn especially high marks.

The IIHS says 49 models earned Top Safety Pick+ status for 2021, indicating the highest level of safety. That is more than double the number that the institute honored with the award in 2020.

In addition, 41 vehicles achieved Top Safety Pick status. That means a total of 90 models earned plaudits for safety, compared with 64 in 2020.

To get Top Safety Pick status, models must have good ratings in six types of IIHS crashworthiness tests and be available with front crash prevention that earns a superior or advanced rating in car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian situations.

Finally, they must be available with good or acceptable headlights. To earn the “Top Safety Pick+” designation, a model must meet the headlight criteria across all trim levels and packages.

Volvo earned the most Top Safety Pick+ awards, with nine. Vehicles that earned the award include:

  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo S60 Recharge
  • Volvo V60
  • Volvo V60 Recharge
  • Volvo XC40
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC60 Recharge
  • Volvo XC90
  • Volvo XC90 Recharge

Hyundai Motor Group — which includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands — earned the most awards overall, with 12 Top Safety Pick awards and five Top Safety Pick+ awards.

The five Top Safety Pick+ winners are:

  • Genesis G70
  • Genesis G90
  • Hyundai Nexo
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Kia K5 (built after November 2020)

The 12 Top Safety Pick winners are:

  • Hyundai Kona (with optional front crash prevention)
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Hyundai Tucson (with optional front crash preventions)
  • Hyundai Veloster (with optional front crash prevention)
  • Hyundai Venue
  • Kia Forte (with optional front crash prevention)
  • Kia Seltos (built after August 2020; with optional front crash prevention)
  • Kia Sorento
  • Kia Soul (with optional front crash prevention)
  • Kia Sportage (with optional front crash prevention)
  • Kia Stinger (with optional front crash prevention)
  • Kia Telluride

However, not all automakers excelled in the 2021 rankings. As the IIHS notes in a press announcement:

“Only one automaker, Mitsubishi, has failed to earn a single award so far. The low number of awards for General Motors — one TOP SAFETY PICK and one TOP SAFETY PICK+ — is striking for such a large manufacturer.”

At the IIHS website, you can find a list of all the vehicles that earned Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick status.

New cars have the latest and greatest safety features. But they tend to cost far more than used cars, and their value begins to tumble soon after you purchase them.

For that reason, Money Talks News typically recommends buying a good, safe used car. For more, check out “This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car.”

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