Read about the safest plug-in cars on the road today according to the IIHS and NHTSA, as well as each vehicle's standard and available active safety equipment.
This is the second article in a two-part series about the safest plug-ins available today. We factor the most up-to-date crash testing ratings from the Insurance Institue for Highway Safety and the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration. We also fill you in on each vehicle's standard active safety technology, as well as what other safety features are available.
Check Out Part One: Today's Safest Plug-in Hybrid And Battery-Electric Cars
If you haven't read 'Part One' or are unfamiliar with IIHS and NHTSA crash testing procedures and ratings, follow the link above. Keep in mind that many of these vehicles aren't individually tested in their "electrified" trims. In most cases, the scores for the gas-powered configuration are used for all variants. Additionally, most consider the EV and PHEV versions of any vehicle to be arguably safer due to increased weight and/or lower, more balanced center of gravity.
Now, let's get right into our list of the safest plug-ins.
The Pacifica Hybrid hasn't yet been rated by the NHTSA, but the comparable gas-powered Pacifica gets a five-star overall rating, with four stars in the rollover evaluation. The IIHS designates it as a Top Safety Pick. It earns the bests rating of Good in all categories.
Every Pacifica Hybrid comes standard with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring. The top Limited trim gets you extras like a 360-degree camera, front parking sensors, lane departure warning, active park assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
According to the NHTSA, the BMW 3 Series receives a five-star overall rating, although it falters marginally in the frontal crash test, earning four out of five stars. Nonetheless, it receives only Good crash test ratings from the IIHS and is a Top Safety Pick.
The only standard active safety feature in the 330e is a rearview camera. You can opt for equipment like a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system, active park assist, parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking.
The A3 earns a spot in the Top Safety Pick club, with the highest rating of Good in every IIHS crash test. The NHTSA specifies that the Sportback model hasn't been tested. Other A3 models get five stars overall, despite only four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.
The A3 features a rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers, and Audi Pre Sense Basic and Pre Sense Front as standard. Pre Sense Basic prepares the car for a potential collision by tightening the seatbelts, rolling up the windows, closing the sunroof, and turning on the hazard lights. Pre Sense Front provides forward collision warning and brake assist.
Other available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go.
The IIHS awards the XC60 with nothing but Good ratings for crashworthiness. It's also a Top Safety Pick. The NHTSA hasn't tested the 2018 model. Even though the 2017 model received a five-star rating, the SUV was completely redesigned for 2018, so we can't assume those scores will stand ... but we're confident the Volvo will fare well.
Volvo offers a plethora of standard and available safety equipment. Standard features in the XC60 include a rearview camera, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, a driver drowsiness monitor, oncoming lane mitigation, run-off-road mitigation, and collision mitigation with active braking. According to Volvo, the car's systems can even detect pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals.
If you want even more features, you can opt for a 360-degree camera, rear collision warning with braking, cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring with steering assist, a distance alert, adaptive cruise control, and semi-autonomous drive.
The IONIQ Hybrid (no plug) aces all IIHS crash tests and is a Top Safety Pick. However, the EV and PHEV have yet to be individually tested. The NHTSA hasn't tested any version of the IONIQ for 2017 or 2018.
The IONIQ includes a rearview camera. Several other active safety technologies, like lane change assist, lane keep assist, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive headlights are available.
The NHTSA has not evaluated the Cooper Countryman. According to the IIHS, it earns a Good rating in every category. However, it misses the Top Safety Pick designation due to a Marginal headlight score.
Every Cooper Countryman comes standard with rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. You can opt for more advanced safety features, including a head-up display, a driver drowsiness monitoring, park assist, and adaptive cruise control.
The XC90 performs very well in all NHTSA crash tests, earning it a five-star overall rating. Like almost all SUVs, it receives four stars in the rollover simulation. It also secures a Good rating in every IIHS evaluation, but it can't take home a Top Safety Pick honor since its headlights are Marginal in some trims.
Like the XC60 and virtually all of Volvo's lineup, active safety features are plentiful. Standard equipment includes a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, road sign detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and the automaker's City Safe technology. City Safe covers forward collision warning and low-speed automatic emergency braking, as well as the ability to detect pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals.
Additional upgrades include a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, front parking sensors, active park assist, and active headlights.
Watch This - Volvo XC90 Named Euro NCAP Best in Class 2015
The GLE is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. The NHTSA has only evaluated its rollover probability, and in that test, it earns four stars out of five.
Standard safety features in the GLE 550e include a rearview camera, crosswind assist, a driver drowsiness monitor, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and Mercedes' Pre-Safe, which readies the car for a crash by closing the windows and sunroof, tightening the seatbelts, and locking the doors. You can opt for extras like a surround-view parking camera, parallel park assist, and adaptive cruise control.
According to the IIHS, the S90 gets Good ratings for crashworthiness in all areas tested. Its Marginal headlight score robs it of the Top Safety Pick designation. It has yet to be tested by the NHTSA.
This is the third Volvo vehicle on our list, and, needless to say, safety features are abundant. In fact, the S90 has more standard and available advanced safety tech than most cars on the market today. It includes Volvo's Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system, with lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. You also get a rearview camera, a driver attention monitor, road sign information, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, run-off-road assist, forward and rear collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
If you want more, you can add a 360-degree camera, adaptive bending headlights, a head-up display, front parking sensors, and active park assist.
This list will continue to change as we gather new information on certain models. We will update and republish 'Part One' and 'Part Two' as new details become available and when new models arrive.
The bottom line is that there are many plug-in cars that perform well in crash tests, and most come standard with a respectable list of active safety technology. If you can afford to spend the money, many of these vehicles offer an impressive list of optional advanced safety equipment.