Special Report

The Most Dangerous Cars in America


To determine the most dangerous cars on the road, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed crash test ratings conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit highway safety research organization, funded by automobile insurance companies, with the mission of reducing crashes and the resulting injuries, deaths, and property damage. To be considered as one of the most dangerous cars, a vehicle needed to receive either a “marginal” or “poor” rating — the second-lowest and lowest ratings — in either the moderate overlap frontal crash test or the side crash test. In addition, a car needed to receive a poor rating in at least one of the other two categories — roof strength, and head restraints and seats. We only considered vehicles generations for which a 2005 model or later was built. For each vehicle, we noted a model as discontinued if the manufacturer stopped producing the car in United States for at least one year. In the case of the GMC Sierra 1500, two versions of the model met the standards — the 2001-2006 Sierra 1500 extended cab and the 2007 Sierra 1500 Classic. Similarly, we excluded the Dodge Neon SRT which would have made the cut, from our list, as it has the same body type as the Dodge Neon. It should be noted that the IIHS does not test all commercially-available car models, and it is possible that other cars would make this list if it did. Production runs of a model are typically rated the same, as manufacturers usually do not make major structural changes to the car over the course of a generation. For this reason, we typically listed all the years of the generation that makes our list. There are exceptions, however, when a small change or a new test changes a vehicle’s rating. For example, while the Saturn L-Series made the list from the 2000 model year through the 2005 year, we only count L-Series for the 2002 through 2005 years, as the side impact test was not conducted for the 2000 or 2001 years. Similarly, the generation of the Suzuki Forenza to fail ran from the 2004 through 2008 model years, but only the 2005 models had enough tests to meet our standards. Model-specific fatality data came from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

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