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Though many consumers are interested in the look and feel of a car, car safety is really one of the most important features, especially for drivers in Florida. In 2015, the number of car accidents in Florida increased by 8.77 percent and the number of fatal car accidents increased by 14.52 percent -- those aren’t small increases. The driving stats for 2016 aren’t in yet, but with the advent of Pokemon Go! and texting and driving still not under control, those numbers could continue to increase.
One resource for consumers to learn more about car safety and car safety ratings is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Every year, the IIHS tests and evaluates all available car models on two aspects of safety: crashworthiness — how well a vehicle protects its passengers in a car crash — and crash avoidance and mitigation — technology that can prevent a car accident or lessen its severity. To determine crashworthiness, the IIHS evaluates five aspects -- small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints
After testing, the IIHS then gives each car a rating, and some of those vehicles will make it on the IIHS list as a 2016 Top Safety Pick or a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. For a vehicle to qualify as a 2016 Top Safety Pick it must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests and a basic rating for front crash prevention. To qualify for 2016 Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests and an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.
Here are all of the vehicles available at NowCar that were a IIHS 2016 Top Safety Pick or a Top Safety Pick+.
The 2016 Chevy Sonic is a reliable and safe subcompact car. The 2016 model is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and it also is a great buy because it is a very fuel efficient vehicle. The Sonic features a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and it has a fuel economy of 28/38 mpg city/highway. The Chevy Sonic has a starting MSRP of $15,145.
The 2017 Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) that has an electric range of 53 miles, and a total range of 420 miles with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas. The Volt is fuel efficient, loaded with tech, and is an IIHS 2016 Top Safety Pick+. The 2017 Volt has a starting MSRP of $33,170 and it qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit that is available for PHEVs and EVs.
The Kia Soul is safe and affordable. The 2016 Kia Soul is entering the 2017 model-year with some changes, but since the Kia Soul has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick for the last eight years, we don’t expect Kia to alter its safety systems. Currently, the Kia Soul is powered by a 1.6-liter I4 engine that produces 130 horsepower. The Kia Soul has a fuel economy of 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Starting MSRP for the 2016 Kia Soul is $15,900.
2016 Chevy Malibu + Malibu Limited
Picked by the IIHS as a 2016 Top Safety Pick, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu seats five passengers comfortably. Under the hood of the Chevy Malibu is a 160-hp 1.5-liter I4 DOHC engine and it has an average fuel economy of 27/36 mpg city/highway. There is an available hybrid version, too. The 2016 Chevy Malibu has a starting MSRP of $21,680.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Limited, not to be confused as a trim of the Chevy Malibu, received Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS as well. The Malibu Limited is equipped with a 2.5-liter EcoTec engine, generating 197-horsepower. It has a seating capacity of five people, and has the fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway. The starting MSRP sits at $22,565.
The 2016 Chrysler 200 is a 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and it is as stylish as it is safe. The sleek-looking Chrysler 200 is a smooth ride and features a lot of modern tech. The 200’s base engine is a 2.4-liter Tigershark I4 engine that generates 184 horsepower, and gives the 200 a fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The starting MSRP is $22,115.
Affordable, fuel efficient, sleek and safe, the 2016 Kia Optima is a real winner. The 2016 Kia Optima qualified for an IIHS 2016 Top Safety Pick+. It comfortably seats five passengers, and it has a fuel economy of 25/37 mpg city/highway. Though fuel efficient, the Optima’s 2.4-liter DOHC 16 I4 engine gives it plenty of horsepower for cruising around the city or coasting on the highway. The 2016 Kia Optima has a starting MSRP of $22,140.
Made available in mid-2016, the 2017 Kia Sportage has already been evaluated by the IIHS and earned itself a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. The Kia Sportage offers plenty of passenger space and an excellent amount of cargo space in the rear. The 2017 Sportage is powered by a 181-horsepower 2.4-liter DOHC 16 I4 engine that gets 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. It has a starting MSRP of $22,990.
The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander has been a favorite model of the brand, and it was chosen as a 2016 Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. The Outlander is a versatile crossover and is available with five or seven passenger seating. Under the hood of the Outlander is a 2.4-liter MIVEC SOHC 16 I4 engine, standard, generating 166-horsepower. Its engineering and design give the Outlander a fuel economy of 25/30 mpg city/highway. It has a starting MSRP of $23,495.
Receiving Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox is the fuel-efficient crossover from Chevy. The 2016 Equinox is equipped with a 2.4-liter engine, which gets up to 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The Equinox seats five passengers with plenty of room. The starting MSRP is $23,100.
The 2016 Kia Sorento is an IIHS 2016 Top Safety Pick, and the 2017 Kia Sorento was upgraded to an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Depending on the trim, the Sorento can seat either five or seven passengers. Both the 2016 and 2017 Sorento are powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC 16 I4 engine. This engine generates 185-horsepower, and the Sorento has an EPA-rated fuel economy of 21/28 mpg city/highway. The 2016 model has a starting MSRP of $25,100, with the 2017 model only $300 more.
Making a lot of noise in 2016, the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is impressing the pants off consumers and it did the same with the IIHS. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica earned its IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating in September and it has one of the best crash ratings in the minivan segment.
The Pacifica seats seven passengers comfortably and is available with eight passenger seating. The Pacifica has many convenient features and is powered by a 287-hp 3.6-liter VVT engine that gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It has a starting MSRP of $28,595.
Like the Kia Sorento, the 2016 Kia Sedona is a 2016 Top Safety Pick, and the 2017 Sedona is a Top Safety Pick+. Both vehicles are powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine that generates 276-horsepower and has an EPA-rated fuel economy of 18/24 mpg city/highway. The Sedona can seat seven, and eight passenger seating is available on select Sedona trims. The 2016 Kia Sedona has a starting MSRP of $26,400, with the 2017 model only $400 more.
As we continue getting closer to 2017, new IIHS safety ratings will continue to be updated, so check back when you are ready to start car shopping again.