If you’re in the market for an EV, be sure to check out our list of the safest electric cars for sale today, from full electrics to hybrids.
As the automotive landscape continues to move away from internal combustion and into electric power, there will be an ongoing consumer learning curve. This is, after all, a whole new way to get from Point A to Point B. Fortunately, at Carsforsale.com, we’ve put together some helpful articles to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of this new future.
A good place to start is this breakdown of the differences between gas-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fully-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf. And don’t miss our Electric Car Maintenance 101 article as the days of oil changes and air filters are headed for the rearview mirror. If you’re wondering how plugging your car into the garage outlet will impact your wallet, check out this writeup regarding charging cost. And last, but certainly not least, is the question of electric car safety.
There have been recent headlines covering trouble with overheated components from Ford, to questionable hands-free driving systems at Tesla, both of which we dive into here. When it comes to adopting new technology, it is important to feel comfortable with the product you’re using. Which is why we’ve put together this list of safest electric cars on the market today.
Arguably responsible for prodding legacy automakers into the EV space, Tesla also has the distinction of building the only EV car that earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – their highest rating. Keep in mind, there are plenty of other fully electric cars that have not yet been tested, not to mention hybrids and plug-in hybrids, but in this particular space, the Model 3 stands tall.
The Tesla Model 3 also earns a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), their highest available award. Every Model 3 is well-equipped in the advanced driver-assistance systems with automated emergency breaking, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control or Autopilot in Tesla-speak. Full self-driving capability is also available but costs extra.
From the Swedish company long-known for building safe vehicles comes the all-electric Volvo XC40 Recharge to keep the legacy alive. It earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Institute for Highway Safety with Good scores (which are the highest) in all categories except child-seat latch use, where it earns an Acceptable mark. Though the electric Recharge model has not yet been rated by NHTSA, its gas-powered sibling has a top 5-star rating. Helping this are standard advance driver-assistance systems like forward collision warning and automated emergency brakes as well as traffic sign recognition.
Blending unassuming Civic design with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain – no plugging in required – the Honda Insight is both inexpensive at $27,000 to start and an absolute home run on safety scores. At both the Institute for Highway Safety and NHTSA, the Insight is perfect with Good ratings across the board at IIHS and five stars in every category – overall, frontal crash, side impact, and rollover – at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Like every Honda, the Insight comes with the EyeSight suite of advanced driver-assistance systems which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automated emergency brake, and traffic sign recognition.
The Audi e-tron, a roughly Q5-sized electric SUV, makes this list of safest electric cars thanks to top marks from IIHS and NHTSA. A caveat is that models equipped with fancy, and expensive, Matrix LED headlights only receive an Acceptable mark from IIHS in the headlight category.
Premium and Premium Plus, with regular LED lighting earn a Good rating here, so save your money. The Sportback version, with a more steeply raked rear roof, shares the Top Safety Pick+ and 5-star ratings but Audi skimps somewhat, considering the luxury pricing, with advance driver-assistance system. automated emergency brake, blind spot monitoring, and rcta are standard but adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist require moving up the trim hierarchy.
Representing the PHEV segment, Toyota’s RAV4 Prime applies plug-in hybrid technology to the most popular crossover in America. It nails every IIHS category with a rating of Good, including Superior marks in the more finely parsed vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian frontal crash prevention categories. Though NHTSA has not yet rated the RAV4 Prime, you can rest easy knowing every model comes with Toyota Safety Sense, an advance driver-assistance system suite that includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency brake, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
The egg-shaped Subaru Crosstrek crossover, in gas-electric hybrid form, boasts a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Unlike its gas-powered sibling with optional adaptive LED headlights, the hybrid model features this trick lighting as standard equipment, which elevates its safety scores. Subaru fits all models, Crosstrek hybrid included, with their EyeSight basket of driver aids that includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering, automated emergency brake front and rear, automatic high beams, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. though the hybrid variant is not yet rated by NHTSA, the gas-powered model is a 5-star rated vehicle.
Those with children will appreciate finding the Toyota Sienna minivan on this list of safest electric cars. It manages to do so by offering a standard hybrid powertrain and earing a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS. Within that safety score, it ticks all the boxes with a green mark for Good. The Sienna also picks up the top 5-star overall rating from NHTSA with sub-category scores of five stars in side crash and four stars in both frontal crash scenarios and rollover risk, which is measured at 14%.
A bona fide smash hit in sales, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is also a Top Safety Pick rated electric SUV adaptive cruise control according to IIHS. In the crashworthiness category, it earns a Good rating across the board. However, skip the California Route 1 model as its reflector-style LED headlights drop it to Marginal in this category versus Good for the rest of the trimlines with their projector-style lighting.
Ford fits every Mustang Mach-E with evasive steering assist, forward collision warning with automated emergency brakes, a lane keeping system, and traffic sign recognition. Higher-spec models also sport BlueCruise, the automakers’ semi-autonomous driving system. The Mustang Mach-E made our list of Best Electric Vehicles in 2022 thanks to a refined cabin, strong adaptive cruise control, and practicality-a-plenty. Its strong safety scores make the electric-powered Mustang that much more desirable.