It’s an unfortunate fact…most of the time, when people are thinking about buying a new vehicle, the last thing on their mind is safety. Instead they are thinking about fuel efficiency or endurance, or worse yet, they are considering the car’s appearance above all else. None of those things are going to do more than make you look good or safe you money. But what about saving your life?
Today’s new autos come equipped with some incredible safety features, from alerts to tell you if you are coasting out of your lane all the way to rearview cameras and everything in between. It seems that we take these features for granted, and sometimes we aren’t even aware of their existence. We go for the bare bones in an effort to save a buck, or we don’t pay any attention at all, as long as the stereo sounds good. Ideally, though, safety should be the very first thing we are taking into consideration, and then we should go from there.
To make the task simpler for consumers, we have put together a list that will hopefully motivate auto buyers to consider safety first. Below are twenty of the most dangerous automobiles you could possibly drive, based on overall ratings, for the 2020 year. The cars listed have all been through rigorous testing, not to mention the fact that their real-life accident statistics haven’t been great. Either they lack the safe little extras that they could have, or the vehicle itself just doesn’t hold up in a wreck. Maybe there have been a pattern of a particular issue happening time and again, and it’s endangered lives. These cars have been ranked by the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and have shown to be involved in fatal automobile accidents more than other models; they are also the ones you should likely avoid.
Whatever the reason may be, we’ve listed the car below, and we’ll break the problem down for you. They are listed from #20 to #1, from the least dangerous to the most. Remember: If it’s dangerous, it’s dangerous. Just because it’s number 20 doesn’t make it any less so. In the grand scheme of things, its place is only numbers. Most of the vehicles on this list are twice as likely to be in a fatal crash than the average vehicle.
So, take a close gander and determine whether or not a car you’ve been wanting is here. If so, it’s time to consider another. Not just for your safety, but for the safety of anyone you may drive in your vehicle. It’s serious business, and well worth the read.
The 20 Most Dangerous Cars to Drive In 2020
20. Subaru BRZ
Most of the 2020 BRZ’s crash test ratings scored ‘good’; one of them was ‘Acceptable’, and many were not rated. An Overall star rating was dodged as well, but its frontal crash test got four stars, and the rollover test managed five, while the side crash test was left unrated. While it was a Top Safety Pick in 2013, that status has dwindled, and as you can see, it wound up here. Sources say that the BRZ as a car isn’t so much ‘unsafe’, rather drivers of this particular car just seem to get into more wrecks. One review raved about how fun it is to drive, which may contribute to the statistics to a level. (Fatalities: 6.9 cars per billion mile)
19. Nissan Versa Note
The IIHS left a majority of the categories for testing unrated for the 2020 Versa Note, with a couple of them coming out ‘good’, and the NHTSA were sporadic, to say the least. The word is, however, that this subcompact hatchback is on the chopping block (will be discontinued). Some of the NHTSA ratings that were complete included the frontal crash test, in which it only earned three stars. The thing with the stars is that a higher rating on another test will jump up the overall score, which is what happened here: Overall it earned 4 stars. (Fatalities: 6.2 cars per billion miles)
18. Nissan 370Z
This car is actually considered one of the best new sports cars, but that doesn’t mean it’s the safest. While there aren’t an abundance of complaints on it, it has been in some fatalities, and some of this may be due to the lack of safety features added by the manufacturer. This is a sporty and spendy ride, which contributes to sales. It is theorized that younger drivers with less experience are driving them, contributing to the high fatality stats. (Fatalities: 6.2 cars per billion miles)
17. Hyundai Veloster Turbo
This is actually a car that has won awards, and it has been referred to as a fun ride that is cheap to boot. This car and the Versa Note had the same number of accidents statistically, though, which means that cheap isn’t always better. It does have a 5-star overall crash rating, but when it came to the IIHS side crash and front overlap tests, well…it sort of bombed. It is thought by the company that the recent redesign will help matters. (Fatalities: 6.2 cars per billion miles)
16. Nissan Versa
Unlike the subcompact Versa Note, the Versa is just a tad larger and heavier; it is classified as a small car. This Note-like sedan now stands as the most inexpensive car one can buy in the US, and if something is cheap it usually means that something else has been given up to provide that price. It has a 4-star overall rating from the NHTSA, with average ratings in every category; the IIHS gave it a ‘poor’ rating in the front overlap crash test, which, of course, is not good. (Fatalities: 6.1 cars per billion miles)
15. Kia Soul
This sassy little auto is quite popular among the masses, but it is likely because of its quaint, boxy look. Previously it has always been regarded as safe by the IIHS, even winning an award in 2019 for consistency in testing. This year it flops, however, which is disappointing for the company, who focused on producing a new version. It is anticipated that this will rectify any safety issues that disrupted its stellar record. (Fatalities: 5.3 cars per billion miles)
14. Kia Rio
Said to be reliable, with high owner satisfaction ratings, the Rio comes in next. The reason for this is that, according to Consumer Reports, one can only get the best safety features by upgrading to the ‘S’ trim version of the car, so standard trim doesn’t come fully equipped when it comes to safety. This is good knowledge to have, especially with all the new features that are available. (Fatalities: 5.9 cars per billion miles)
13. Chevy Camaro
This year’s Camaro actually got a five-star rating from the NHTSA while earning IIHS scores in the average range. But according to Car & Driver, this particular Chevy favorite has fewer technologically advanced safety features than on would expect, especially for its class. Car & Driver also thought that it was lacking in the driver’s assist features, as well. The truth is, many times the Camaro is purchased for image’s sake, and is more often than not driven by inexperienced younger drivers. (Fatalities: 5.5 cars per billion miles)
12. Dodge Challenger
This surprised us because the Challenger has always given such a strong impression of strength and durability, but it has a high rate of fatalities under its belt. Like the Camaro, it is mostly sought after for its sporty, muscle-y appearance…to look cool, so to speak. Well, as we’ve stated, muscle and performance shouldn’t be the priority, but it happens. Also, cars in the same class as the Challenger (and Camaro, for that matter, have the ‘highest fatal accident rate’ of all the classes, according to the CEO of iSeeCars, Phong Ly. The priority of this type of car IS performance, so it’s a dilemma. (Fatalities: 5.8 cars per billion miles.
11. Ford Fiesta Sedan
Cars.com stated that smaller cars tend to have the highest fatality rates, and we think you’ll find that is true on an overall basis on this list, with few exception. So it is with the Ford Fiesta sedan. It really hasn’t done so hot safety-wise for some time, but while that is true, it is also a fact that in single-car accidents it didn’t do so poorly; but when it came to the pesky two-car variety, well, it bombed. Being inexpensive, corners may have been cut when it came to safety technology, but it did will with IIHS and the NHTSA overall. (Fatalities: 57 deaths per one-million vehicles registered)
10. Hyundai Accent Sedan
The Accent has been known to be a danger for a while, consumers even being told to avoid buying one altogether, due to poor testing results. While the company has made great strides in improving and adding safety features, it still isn’t at the top of the list. At last count, it was noted to have the highest fatality rate of all the cars listed
9. Nissan Titan Crew Cab
This is one of the larger (largest, in fact) vehicles on our list, and it comes in at number nine. Nissan has their problems here and there, but overall they manufacture a fairly rugged and well-equipped pickup truck. This Titan model has a short bed, however, the number of fatalities has led to the two-wheel drive model as being the ‘most dangerous pickup truck on the road. As it turns out, the IIHS says that the Titan’s roof is weak…on the model in general. On top of this, the truck is said to possibly be prone to rollovers (bad mix, I’d say).(Fatalities: 73 driver deaths per 1 million vehicles registered)
8. Toyota Scion tC
The Scion tC went through a string of successful crash test years in the early-to=mid 2010s, but now it is one of the only larger-sized vehicles to rank so high, aside from the Titan, of course. This car actually rated with 101 deaths per one-million vehicles registered at one point, which is a scary number indeed. Getting a used on makes us even more nervous, to tell you the truth. (Fatalities: 46 deaths per one-million vehicles registered)
7. Nissan Sentra
Last year’s Sentra scored 4-stars with the NHTSA, but it got a ‘poor’ rating on front crash prevention in two vehicle accidents. It didn’t do much better before that under the same tests, and safety features have been added, but we feel it should have done much better than it did for the features that come with it. The Sentra is a vehicle you may want to be wary of if safety is your priority. (45 deaths per one-million vehicles registered)
6. Ford Focus Sedan
IIHS gave it ‘good’ ratings mostly, with a couple of ‘acceptable’ ratings thrown in. As far as the NHTSA, they noted it as having 2 recalls and 77 complaints, but they wrapped things up with an overall 5-star rating. Older models are definitely more dangerous than newer ones, but it’s another small vehicle, and it has been said that it’s fun to drive. Those two really aren’t a good mix, so playing it safe with the Focus is your best bet. (Fatalities: 50 deaths per one-million vehicles registered)
5. Chevy Spark
Of course there couldn’t be Fords on the list without a Chevy or two. The Spark is the second Chevy product on the list, and we’re talking about another small vehicle. For the 2020 model year the IIHS gave it a couple of ‘good’, and a single ‘acceptable’, rating, and the NHTSA listed it as having a single recall and a couple of complaints. The numbers speak for themselves, however, and the fatalities listed for the Spark are nothing to sneeze at. It’s size likely contributes to the number, however, especially when it’s involved in accidents with another vehicle
4. Chevy Corvette
The third and final Chevy on the list is the Corvette, and the fatality number is theorized to be a direct result of the fact that this is ultimately meant to be a performance car. Since we touched on those points earlier, we’ll look at the ratings. NHTSA hadn’t yet rated it as of this writing, but they did confirm 34 complaints and one recall. Nada Guides states that accelerating or braking hard may cause a sensing module to go into false alert, meaning that the airbags may not deploy under these circumstances in an accident; recalls were done by GM. This is a pretty major issue, so be sure that you discuss this with any dealer you confer with. According to defensive driving, the Corvette is ‘…arguably the most dangerous car in history’. (Fatalities: 9.8 cars per billion miles)
3. Kia Forte
The NHTSA reported one complaint, but gave it four stars, thanks to a three-star front passenger crash test, and a four-star front driver side test, which brought its overall down. IIHS called it a Top Safety Pick for the small car/sedan class. It comes with an abundance of safety features, including a braking system that will apply even more to the brake to avoid an accident if the driver doesn’t apply it enough. But with 7.4 of the model being involved in a fatality for every billion miles traveled by the Forte overall, well, we’d have to pass. (Fatalities: 7.4 cars per billion miles)
2. Honda Fit
Our only Honda product is the small, tiny Fit. Popular due to its fuel economy, and likely because it’s a little cute, the Fit sees its share of wrecks, as the numbers reflect. It has the equipment for safety, though it could add a thing or two. Chances are that this car is another to get poor rating due to size and its zippy driving capacity. (7.7 cars per billion miles)
1. Mitsubishi Mirage
Finally, the most dangerous automobile you can drive for the 2020 year is the Mitsubishi Mirage, which rates at a whopping 10.2 of them involved in fatalities for every billion miles traveled. When the average vehicle claims 2.6, we have a lot to digest. Certainly not considered a go-to car because of this, the Mirage did rate around average with the NHTSA and the IIHS. A poor rating on the overlap crash test likely gives away a lot of the reason for any poor scoring that it received. (Fatalities: 10.2 cars per billion miles)
So, there’s a bundle of information for you to go car shopping with, and it’s information that may very well save your life or the life of a loved one. Make it a habit to educate yourself regarding auto safety ratings and the strengths and weaknesses of any model you are considering. Be sure to make the preservation of life the priority when driving on the road. Now, get out there, find a car, and get it…just be safe doing it.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith