Although larger vehicles tend to provide more protection in the event of an accident, recent advances in automotive design and fabrication have made smaller, less expensive cars much safer than in years past. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded its highest, five star safety rating to nine 2015 models priced under $20,000.
With an MSRP of just $18,945, the Mazda3 received five out of five stars in the NHTSA’s frontal and side crash tests, and four out of five stars for the rollover test. The Mazda3 is the most expensive of the nine models under $20,000.
The 2015 Honda Civic Sedan scored four out of five stars on both the front crash and rollover tests, and a perfect five out of five stars on the side impact test. The current-year model was honored as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety. The 2015 model is priced at $18,490.
Hyundai was a big winner, with two models making grade. In addition to receiving an overall safety rating of five stars from the NHTSA, Hyundai’s three door Veloster gets an impressive 35 mpg on the open road, and features an optional turbo engine. The Veloster received four out of five stars for the front crash and rollover tests, and five of five for the side impact crash test. The non-turbo Veloster is priced at $18,000.
Priced at $750 less than the Veloster, the 2015 Hyundai Elantra matched its stablemate’s performance; receiving five out of five stars on the side impact test, and four out of five stars on the rollover and front impact tests. The 2015 model gets an EPA estimated 38 mpg on the highway. The 2014 model was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Priced at $17,325, the stylish 2015 Volkswagen Jetta received a perfect score on the side crash test and four out of five stars on the rollover and front impact tests.
Coming in just under $17,000, the ever popular Toyota Corolla received five out of five stars on both the front and side impact tests, and four out of five stars on the rollover test. Upping the ante in the safety department, the 2015 model features eight standard airbags.
In addition to receiving an overall five star safety rating from the NHTSA, the IIHS also named the 2015 Dodge Dart as a Top Safety Pick+ (its highest safety rating). Like the 2015 Corolla, the Dart also received five star ratings on the NHTSA’s front and side crash tests, and four out of five on the rollover test. The 2015 Dart has a base sticker price of $16,495.
The 2015 Kia Forte LX, with an MSRP of just $15,890, received perfect five out of five scores on all three of the NHTSA’s safety tests.
The base model 2015 Chevy Sonic is priced at an amazingly low $14,245, and gets an impressive 40 mpg. It was awarded four out of five stars on the NHTSA’s rollover test, and five out of five stars on the front and side impact crash tests.