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The Safest Midsize Sedans You Can Buy

Whether you're looking for the best possible deal, or something more luxurious, there's a sedan that will meet your needs as a safety-conscious used car buyer.

The Safest Midsize Sedans You Can Buy

Crossover SUVs have been all the rage on America's highways and in our garages for the last decade or more—but the good ol' four-door sedan is still popular, too. That's good news for the safety-conscious used car buyer because it means there are plenty of models to choose from.

Whether you're a bargain shopper looking for the best possible deal on some reliable four-door wheels, or in the market for something more luxurious, there's a sedan that will meet your needs while delivering your wants, too.

Safety Isn't The Same

The very definition of safety has changed a lot over the years and decades. What was presumed a "safe" car in the 1950s due to good engineering and lots of heavy steel wouldn't fare well in modern crash-testing—a fact well-illustrated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's test of a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air in a head-on collision with a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu.

That big hunk of iron, beautiful as it was, folded up like a wet cardboard box, while the newer car's carefully engineered crumple zones absorbed and deflected energy, leaving its occupants much better off.

Improvement of Vehicle Safety Features Over Time

Just as time, and safety, have marched forward since the late 1950s, so too has safety improved over the past 5-10 years—though the differences are by no means as stark. Even the oldest of the vehicles included in our list of the safest used sedans below is engineered to standards very close to those of the current crop of 2017 model-year vehicles, with the exception of the recently introduced small-overlap front impact testing.

On the technology front, however, many small but important advances in vehicle safety have been made in the past few years, including more widespread availability of automatic braking systems, pedestrian and obstacle detection systems, lane-keeping systems, and other technology-based safety and driver-aids.

Decide What Safety Systems You Want

If you're in the market for these high-tech safety systems, you'll want to focus on cars made in the last two or three years, and do your homework on which equipment packages or trim lines include the desired safety features for the specific model of car you're after.

But before you get into the nitty-gritty of deciding which car to buy, you need someplace to start, and this list is intended to be just that: the perfect starting place for anyone looking for a safe and practical used midsize sedan.

List of Safest Midsize Sedans to Buy

The list examines the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data for the model years 2010-2016, which covers almost all of the used sedans on the market that can still be financed. The cars are listed in order of the number of Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ awards they've won.

While a greater number of wins indicates there are more model years available on the used the market, it doesn't necessarily make a five-time winning sedan safer than a one-time winner—if a car is on this list, it is among the safest vehicles built in the year it was made.

With Three or more TSP or TSP+ wins:

Audi A3

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TSP+: 2014, 2015, 2016

Audi A4

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TSP+: 2016

Acura TL

TSP: 2012, 2014
TSP+: 2013

Chevrolet Malibu

TSP: 2010 (After November '09), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
TSP+: 2014, 2016

Chrysler 200

TSP: 2011, 2012, 2014
TSP+: 2013, 2015, 2016

Dodge Avenger

TSP: 2010 (Optional stability control), 2011, 2012, 2014
TSP+: 2013

Ford Fusion

TSP: 2010 (After April), 2011, 2012, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (2017 with front crash prevention)

Honda Accord

TSP: 2012, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Hyundai Sonata

TSP: 2010 (2011 models), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
TSP+: 2014 (2015 optional front crash prevention), 2015 (2016 with optional crash prevention)

Kia Optima

TSP: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Lincoln MKZ

TSP: 2010 (models built after April 2010), 2011, 2012, 2015
TSP+: 2013, 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TSP+: 2016

Subaru Legacy

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012,
TSP+: 2013 (After August 2012), 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Subaru Outback

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012,
TSP+: 2013 (After August 2012), 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Toyota Camry

TSP: 2012, 2013, 2014 (After December 2013), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention)
TSP+: 2014 (2015 Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Volkswagen CC

TSP: 2011, 2012 (FWD inline-4 only), 2013 (FWD inline-4 only)

Volkswagen Jetta

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
TSP+: 2014, 2015 (2016 Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Volkswagen Passat

TSP: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
TSP+: 2013 (After October 2012), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Volvo S60

TSP: 2011, 2012
TSP+: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

With Two TSP or TSP+ wins

BMW 3-Series

TSP: 2012, 2013

Buick Verano

TSP: 2012, 2013

Lexus ES350

TSP: 2012, 2013

Mazda6

TSP+: 2013 (2014 models), 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Nissan Altima

TSP: 2014, 2015
TSP+: 2013 (After November 2012), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

With One TSP or TSP+ win

Acura TLX

TSP+: 2014, 2015 (Optional front crash prevention)

Acura TSX

TSP: 2013

BMW 2-Series

TSP+: 2014 (After June optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention), 2016 (Optional front crash prevention)

Chrysler Sebring

TSP: 2010 (Optional stability control)

Infiniti Q50

TSP+: 2014 (Optional front crash prevention), 2015 (Optional front crash prevention)

Mercury Milan

TSP: 2010 (After April)

Suzuki Kizashi

TSP+: 2013

Safest Used Cars
Understanding Safety Ratings
The Instamotor TeamThe Instamotor Team

Not your typical used car salesman. Our team is here to provide honest and transparent advice about car buying and selling.

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