Safe, Fun-To-Drive Automobiles

The biggest danger of death or severe injury for most Americans comes from motor vehicles. (More info about motor vehicle accidents relative to other causes of death.) Statistically this danger overwhelms more popular subjects such as threats posed by terrorists or rapidly spreading diseases.

Saab 9-3 photo Lots of auto safety information is easily available, though many people never see it. Both crash test scores and safety features are important. While there are an increasing number of safe, fun-to-drive vehicles, many vehicles are much less safe than seemingly similar alternatives. Several important new safety features are currently trickling down from luxury vehicles to more mainstream models (just as anti-lock brakes and front airbags have already). The most important are stability control and side airbags (for both the torso and head). These features save lives. For justifications of the importance of these safety features, see the older links at the bottom of this page and the many excellent publications of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

These web pages focus on safe, fun-to-drive vehicles. The most up-to-date information concentrates on (entry-level luxury) sport sedans:

I believe this is the most thorough quantitative comparison of the safety and performance of vehicles in this class available anywhere.

Older Information

The older information linked below has been, as far as I can tell, the most authoritative soucre of information anywhere about the safest manual-transmission vehicles available in the US, but it also provides good info for people looking for automatic transmissions. (Google and several other search engines back up the credibility of these web pages somewhat. One of these pages has for a long time been the top result for the query: safest automobile.) Though these pages are older, they still contain useful info. They just are not as comprehensive as they once were. BMW X5 photo


Other health and safety related consumer info that I've collected.

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Karl Pfleger
kpfleger@cs.stanford.edu
June, 2003