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Subaru Legacy only one of 9 cars on IIHS list with zero deaths

Subaru Legacy recorded driver death rates of zero in a periodic study by the IIHS. Does this mean Legacy is the safest mid-size sedan?

One way to compare the safety of a vehicle is to look at the number of driver death rates. There’s nine auto models from an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study that recorded driver death rates of zero. IIHS took 2011 and equivalent earlier models, in the years 2009-2012 for this study. Is this the best way to compare vehicle safety?

The Subaru Legacy is one of a record nine that has zero overall driver deaths per million registered vehicles. Legacy is the only mid-size 4-door sedan to make the list. Does this mean Legacy is the safest mid-size sedan? The new IIHS study found that when looking at 2011 models through the 2012 calendar year, driver deaths per million registered vehicle years fell to 28; just three years earlier, the driver death rate was 48.

A record 9 vehicles record zero deaths

Here’s a list of the nine vehicles and their category that recorded zero deaths in the IIHS study. Subaru Legacy 4WD-4-door car midsize, Audi A4 4WD-luxury car midsize, Honda Odyssey-minivan very large, Kia Sorento 2WD-SUV midsize, Lexus RX 350 4WD-luxury SUV midsize, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD-luxury SUV large, Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD-SUV midsize, Toyota Sequoia 4WD-SUV large, Volvo XC90 4WD-luxury SUV midsize. Are these vehicles safer than others?

IIHS study may not be the best way to judge vehicle safety

While the study is interesting, it is not a sure fire way to view these vehicles as safer than others. It could be that the people who buy these vehicles tend to be safer drivers than others. The cars that show the highest rates of driver deaths which are the Kia Rio 4-door car mini (149 driver deaths), Nissan Versa sedan-4-door car small (130) and Hyundai Accent (120) are smaller cars and are more likely to be purchased by a younger demographic.

IIHS Top Safety Pick and TSP plus

A better way to look at vehicle safety is to look at the IIHS Top Safety Pick and TSP plus awards. IIHS tests evaluate two aspects of safety, crashworthiness (how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash), and crash avoidance and mitigation, technology that can prevent a crash or lessen its severity. IIHS just performed the tests on the 2015 Subaru Legacy sedan. The newest Subaru Legacy model shined in IIHS’s small overlap test earning Top Safety Pick and TSP plus awards.

CHECK OUT: 7 reasons why Subaru achieved 7 2014 IIHS Top Safety Picks

Subaru has more 2014 IIHS Top Safety Pick awards than any other brand. Subaru is the only manufacturer with IIHS Top Safety Picks for all models for five consecutive years (2010-2014).

The 2015 Subaru Legacy is a safe vehicle, but zero driver deaths may be a better indicator of the type of driver who buys these vehicles. They tend to be safer drivers, take excellent care of their vehicles and they keep them longer. Check out the IIHS study here.


jerry (not verified)    January 30, 2018 - 5:48PM

Well, you might want to check and see how many Subaru's are in vehicle accidents and do the stats from there. I am sure there are more Chevys and Fords on the road than Subaru so being lazy on stats only cherry picks the equation.

Tom (not verified)    October 23, 2019 - 12:08PM

In reply to by jerry (not verified)

That's why its 'per 1 million vehicles'. And IIHS safety tests does not concern how many vehicles are on the road as it is based on how vehicle responds to collisions, rollovers etc.