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Is the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD the Safest Vehicle In America?

We lay out the evidence that there is no safer vehicle for sale than the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Every automaker advertises its family vehicle lineup with a heavy emphasis on safety. Although there are many very safe to own vehicles for sale, which is the overall safest? The 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid may well be that model. Here’s our evidence.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid – Size, Shape, and Weight
Ask yourself one question before we begin. What type of vehicle do you think is overall the safest for you? Consider a side impact by a Ford F-150 (the most common vehicle on our roads). Then consider being struck from behind by a mid-sized sedan. Next, a frontal small offset crash with a compact crossover (the most common non-truck vehicle sold today). If a single-vehicle crash is your worry, consider the handling and overall ability of the vehicle to stay on the road and be responsive in an emergency maneuver. Depending upon how you weight each of those categories, a large crossover may well be the type of vehicle to start with in terms of safety.

2016 Highlander Hybrid – Government Crash Rating
The evidence begins with Highlander’s overall score on the U.S. government’s rating system. Although this is not our favorite rating system (that would be IIHS), the Highlander here has an overall rating of Five Stars. Those who have a favorite vehicle they think of as safe may point out that there are other vehicles that do better inside the details of the government testing, but read on. One rating is never the whole story. (More on page 2)

Toyota Highlander Hybrid – IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus
The Highlander Hybrid for 2016 has the highest possible safety rating given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Earning the Top Safety Pick Plus means this vehicle has not just scored “Good” on every crash test, but also has forward collision prevention with automatic emergency braking that is rated “Advanced” or better. The Highlander line has been a Top Safety Pick Plus now for a while. Top Safety scores are not new to the Highlander model line.

Real-Life Safety History of Highlander Hybrid
IIHS and its data-gathering arm, HDLI, look back at every U.S. model and determines the actual driver death rate for them all. As of the latest update, not a single vehicle has a score better than the Highlander Hybrid. The Highlander Hybrid AWD is one of only nine have a “zero” driver death rating using the units HDLI developed. No other company has more vehicles on that list than Toyota. The rating is “per million driven miles” so a vehicle’s sales rate does not determine this rating (in other words a vehicle that sells more units is not at a disadvantage).

Feel free to offer in the comments below what vehicle you think might be safer than the Highlander and defend your opinion with some a reference if you have it (but feel free to offer input either way). By our contention, it is hard to beat the Highlander Hybrid when it comes to safety.