Safest cars for under $30k?

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sunnyday
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Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by sunnyday » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:07 pm

My family car is currently a 2006 Honda Civic. It does well for most safety ratings, but now that I'm a father, I'm thinking about getting something that's safer. What are some of the safest cars that don't cost an arm and leg and get decent gas mileage (at least 30mpg highway)? Some safety features that would be really nice are blind spot detection and automatic braking.

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Toons
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Toons » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:14 pm

Im driving Honda Fit,,easy on the wallet ,excellent safety ratings :happy

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/honda/fit
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by chaz » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:16 pm

I feel safe in my corolla.
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by TT » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:22 pm

I would recommend the largest and heaviest car you can afford regarding purchase price and gas mileage. Bigger is better.
Conventional Crash tests do not accurately reflect the real world.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopne ... y-policies

"Laws of physics prevail
The Honda Fit, Smart Fortwo, and Toyota Yaris are good performers in the Institute's frontal offset barrier test, but all three are poor performers in the frontal collisions with midsize cars. These results reflect the laws of the physical universe, specifically principles related to force and distance.
"

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yatesd
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by yatesd » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:24 pm

Usually you can count on a minivan for safety and practicality with kids. Those sliding doors come in handy in tight parking spaces, etc...

http://automobiles.honda.com/odyssey/


Of course, it tops out at 28mpg and expect it to average much less around town.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Dave76 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:38 pm

A minivan seems a bit much for a family of three. A small or midsized station wagon would seem sensible, but I don't think they are made anymore. There isn't much of a selection out there. I have a Hyundai Elantra Touring, but I think the production run of that model has ended.

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William4u
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by William4u » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:43 pm

According to Consumer Reports, ESC (electronic stability control) can prevent 50% of serious accidents in cars, and it is now required on all new cars (2012 and newer)...

Quote from CR: "Consumer Reports has noted that ESC is the most important safety feature since the advent of the seat belt."

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

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momar
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by momar » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:44 pm

Mazda CX-5 scores well in crash tests and comes with blind spot monitoring at higher trim levels and low speed automatic braking is optional. Highway mileage is also 30 or better. Top trim level can be had for 27k.
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tc101
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by tc101 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:57 pm

Single most important thing you can do to improve driving safety is to never ever drive drunk. A close second is to never ever talk on a phone while driving. Most people see avoiding drunk driving as a no brainer. Most people make excuses about talking on a phone.
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by random_walker_77 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:07 pm

There are things you can do to minimize the odds of getting in an accident. As mentioned above, don't be a DUI, don't drive distracted, don't drive while sleep deprived, etc. You can practice defensive driving: watch for cars that might cut you off, leave a gigantic 2 second following distance, etc.

There is technology that helps. Anti-lock brakes, airbags, side airbags, and electronic stability control (ESC) are supposedly the biggest advances, according to the cartalk guys.

But the really bad accidents are roll-overs, which ESC helps prevent, and bad collisions. Of those, there are objects that nothing will help you with: brick wall/tree, bus, semi, train. And then there are other vehicles. When you collide with another vehicle, there are some situations that are better than others: getting rear-ended (not good) vs getting T-boned (very bad) vs head-on (bad) vs partial-offset head-on (very bad). In all these cases, the laws of physics dictate that when a smaller car collides with a bigger car, the smaller car is at a severe disadvantage. Checkout the IIHS stats on driver fatalities by model/category:
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/driver-death-rates

annual driver deaths per million cars
toyota corolla: 66
toyota camry: 46
honda odyssey: 17
toyota sienna: 0

Around where I live, the drivers are crazy. Tail-gating is very frequent, even in the rain. Every few days, I see aggressive driving, passing on the shoulder or turn lane, and lane changes in the middle of a turn. So I now drive a minivan. And for whatever reason, I do think I get tail-gated less in a minivan than in a smaller car. When I see those F250's just a few feet away from the back of a civic, or a mini, or a miata, I can't help but think that's almost like threatening to kill. And vehicular homicide (w/ DUI!) seems to warrant at most a couple of years of jail around these parts (central texas).

By setting the pricepoint at $30K, I presume you're planning on buying a new vehicle, as opposed to a new-ish vehicle?

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by abuss368 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:56 pm

Have you considered the Hyundai Tucson?
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:58 pm

William4u wrote:According to Consumer Reports, ESC (electronic stability control) can prevent 50% of serious accidents in cars, and it is now required on all new cars (2012 and newer)...

Quote from CR: "Consumer Reports has noted that ESC is the most important safety feature since the advent of the seat belt."

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

Re-read those articles. Pay particular attention to the word "car". ESC may still be impressive but you should not overstate the case.

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steve roy
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by steve roy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:09 am

The Honda Accord is rated as one of the safest cars on the road. It's a large car (and so THAT'S in your favor) and it gets good gas mileage. I believe it's safer than far more expensive cars.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:11 am

Check out the Mazda5, the Honda CRV, and the Toyota Rav4. All perform relatively well on the safety tests, and there's a lot to be said for not having to bend over to put your kid in/get your kid out of the carseat.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by likegarden » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:36 am

We experienced that big cars are safer than small cars. A small car rear-ended our 2002 Buick LeSabre years ago at 45 mph: Buick did not show any impact and wife stopped it on side of road, small car front end all smashed up in the meadow.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by YttriumNitrate » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:08 am

tc101 wrote:Single most important thing you can do to improve driving safety is to never ever drive drunk. A close second is to never ever talk on a phone while driving. Most people see avoiding drunk driving as a no brainer. Most people make excuses about talking on a phone.


While not driving drunk is probably #1, I'd put wear your seat belt at #2, with don't be distracted/sleepy at #3. With new safety technology like airbags and ESC, a good chunk of the gains often come from saving people from their foolish decision not to wear a seat belt.

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SquawkIdent
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by SquawkIdent » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:14 am

Toons wrote:Im driving Honda Fit,,easy on the wallet ,excellent safety ratings :happy

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/honda/fit


I agree with Toons somewhat. But go with the Honda Fit Sport model. You deserve it!! :sharebeer

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by bungalow10 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:49 am

Toons wrote:Im driving Honda Fit,,easy on the wallet ,excellent safety ratings :happy

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/honda/fit


+1

I loved my Honda Fit when we were a family of four. When we had a third child we had to get something a little bigger. Our Fit had better safety ratings (and felt much safer while driving it) than the Highlander I drive now.

I had the Fit Sport. The perfect Boglehead vehicle :) The only thing I wished was that it had an option for leather seats. I felt the tires wore out too quickly and noticed that it handled MUCH better when I put upgraded tires on it.
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William4u
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by William4u » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:12 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
William4u wrote:According to Consumer Reports, ESC (electronic stability control) can prevent 50% of serious accidents in cars, and it is now required on all new cars (2012 and newer)...

Quote from CR: "Consumer Reports has noted that ESC is the most important safety feature since the advent of the seat belt."

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

Re-read those articles. Pay particular attention to the word "car". ESC may still be impressive but you should not overstate the case.


I re-read the articles, and all I need to do is add "single-vehicle" and my above assertion would cease to be ambiguous (I was giving the "50%" stat from memory, so please forgive my not including "single-vehicle"). I think my case for ESC is good.

Let us focus on quotes from the two articles I link above. The following is a quote from the second Consumer Reports article that I also quoted previously...

Consumer Reports has noted that ESC is the most important safety feature since the advent of the seat belt.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

Here is a quote from the other article...
How does ESC prevent crashes?
In studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), ESC has been found to reduce the risk of fatal single-vehicle accidents by 51 percent. About half of the total number of fatal crashes on the road involves a single vehicle. These crashes typically involve a vehicle colliding with a tree or another obstacle once leaving the road. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) estimates a 34-percent decrease in cars and 59 percent decrease in SUV single-vehicle crashes. NHTSA also estimates that ESC can prevent 71 percent of car rollovers and 84 percent of SUV rollovers.

All those numbers translate to 5,300 to 9,600 lives potentially saved annually and would prevent between 156,000 and 238,000 injuries, based on a NHTSA estimate. Specifically, NHTSA forecasts that ESC has the potential to prevent between 4,200 and 5,500 deaths that occur each year as a result of rollover crashes. A June 2006 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made a similar prediction that ESC would save more than 10,000 lives per year if all cars had it.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

From these two passages from two Consumer Reports articles, I think we can reasonably conclude that my case for ESC is a good one. Consumer Reports has indeed noted that (and I quote) "ESC is the most important safety feature since the advent of the seat belt." While I could have been more precise (by simply adding "single-vehicle" to my first sentence), I think my case for ESC is still pretty good.

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Ged
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Ged » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:16 am

random_walker wrote:When I see those F250's just a few feet away from the back of a civic, or a mini, or a miata, I can't help but think that's almost like threatening to kill.


I have read that in Germany tailgating is called coercion, a form of assault and you can get a 3 month license suspension for it....

In any case defensive driving needs to include avoiding these situations. Let the jerk pass. All too often I see people cutting off trucks. Really suicidal.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by sunnyday » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:01 pm

Bigger cars are safer according to this http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/are-s ... eid=106748

Does anyone know if Informedforlife.org has an updated chart?
http://www.informedforlife.org/viewartcl.php?index=76

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VictoriaF
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:02 pm

chaz wrote:I feel safe in my corolla.


I feel safe in my Civic.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by investor » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:33 pm

TELSA S seems to be very safe :-) or is cost a factor ?

investor

edit... just saw $30K limit in thread title :annoyed :|

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Andyrunner » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:55 pm

All cars these days are very safe. I would put more of a focus on what would best fit the family and the weather (AWD?).

For example: Corolla is very safe... but based on my 09 model it barely fits a car seat. If you have a second kid, plan on selling that car and getting a bigger one. Also it is terrible in the snow.

We have an outback as well, safer, about 30mpg and bigger. Will fit muliple car seats. Works very well.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by momar » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:00 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
chaz wrote:I feel safe in my corolla.


I feel safe in my Civic.

Cheers,
Victoria

I wouldn't expect you to use this as a criteria for whether a vehicle is safe or not.
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:09 pm

momar wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
chaz wrote:I feel safe in my corolla.


I feel safe in my Civic.

Cheers,
Victoria

I wouldn't expect you to use this as a criteria for whether a vehicle is safe or not.


I use it as a criterion for whether a vehicle is safe enough. Furthermore, the road safety depends not only on the vehicle but also on the driver. I am a calm and safe driver.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by greg24 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:21 pm

A calm and safe driver is safer in a Sienna than a Civic.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by chaz » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:22 pm

momar wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
chaz wrote:I feel safe in my corolla.


I feel safe in my Civic.

Cheers,
Victoria

I wouldn't expect you to use this as a criteria for whether a vehicle is safe or not.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:25 pm

greg24 wrote:A calm and safe driver is safer in a Sienna than a Civic.

There is little evidence for that.

The statistics that are used cannot distinguish between the Sienna being safer and safer drivers picking the Sienna. The people who gather the statistics don't care, but the person picking a car should.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:40 pm

greg24 wrote:A calm and safe driver is safer in a Sienna than a Civic.

She's even safer staying at home.

Victoria
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by 12thman » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:54 pm

YttriumNitrate wrote:
tc101 wrote:Single most important thing you can do to improve driving safety is to never ever drive drunk. A close second is to never ever talk on a phone while driving. Most people see avoiding drunk driving as a no brainer. Most people make excuses about talking on a phone.


While not driving drunk is probably #1, I'd put wear your seat belt at #2, with don't be distracted/sleepy at #3. With new safety technology like airbags and ESC, a good chunk of the gains often come from saving people from their foolish decision not to wear a seat belt.


I clean up after collisions in CA. I can tell you that wearing a seat belt is far more important to safety than not driving drunk. There are many drunk drivers that get into collisions that do not cause injuries to themselves or others however in collisions where seat belts are not worn injuries are much worse. I have seen countless times where people that are wearing their seat belts walk away with scratches whereas the people in the same car not wearing a seat belts have life-threatening injuries.

Driving drunk doesn't mean you will get into an collision, only that your chances are greater of getting into one are greater. However, wearing a seat belt directly impacts your safety when involved in an collision.

Another tip, avoid driving around from midnight to 3am on Fridays and Saturday nights (if you live in a college town, Thursday nights as well).

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by Quickfoot » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:01 pm

Lots of people say they "feel" safe, the important thing to understand is there is a night and day difference between "feeling" safe and actually being safe.

It's actually as early as 9 in the evening that drunk drivers are a problem, in many cities after 9:00 as many as 20% of the drivers have been drinking but the most dangerous time to drive is actually from 5 pm - 7 pm. During the day 18% of fatal crashes are alcohol related, at night it is 54%. 66% of people killed at night are not wearing seat belts which also automatically disables the air bag in modern cars. Overall 95% of crashes are caused by human error, not the vehicle.

With those things in mind you really have to answer what risk are you trying to reduce, driver error or collision? Cars are more stable than SUVs and far less likely to roll but do far worse in collisions with heavy vehicles.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by TT » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:06 pm

sunnyday wrote:My family car is currently a 2006 Honda Civic. It does well for most safety ratings, but now that I'm a father, I'm thinking about getting something that's safer. What are some of the safest cars that don't cost an arm and leg and get decent gas mileage (at least 30mpg highway)? Some safety features that would be really nice are blind spot detection and automatic braking.


IIHS Crash Test compatibility
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ICi2qN4m8
Here is video of midsize car (Accord) collision with small car (Fit)
This is how real world collisions occur
Take note of the driver compartment intrusion in the Fit vs the Accord.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by rec7 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:28 pm

greg24 wrote:A calm and safe driver is safer in a Sienna than a Civic.

True but a wild driver in a Sienna is in more danger than a calm and safe driver in a Civic.
A wild driver in a Civic will soon be dead.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by inbox788 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:33 pm

Dave76 wrote:A minivan seems a bit much for a family of three. A small or midsized station wagon would seem sensible, but I don't think they are made anymore. There isn't much of a selection out there. I have a Hyundai Elantra Touring, but I think the production run of that model has ended.

Small and medium sized SUVs (and now those renamed crossovers) have pretty much eliminated the station wagon category. Achieves pretty much the same thing, and lots of great models to choose from.

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/ca ... pact-SUVs/

random_walker wrote:There is technology that helps. Anti-lock brakes, airbags, side airbags, and electronic stability control (ESC) are supposedly the biggest advances, according to the cartalk guys.

Seat belts are the cheapest most cost effective safety devices when cars collide. I'm still surprised that there are people who don't use them.
annual driver deaths per million cars
toyota corolla: 66
toyota camry: 46
honda odyssey: 17
toyota sienna: 0

camry (bigger car) < corolla isn't surprising, and same with minivans less than sedans, but the 17 vs 0 between the odyssey and sienna is unusual.

It might be an error as these two articles conflict on the sienna with one saying 0 while the other shows 17. Might be different reports or different years.

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/ca ... ath_Rates/

http://www.statisticbrain.com/driver-fa ... auto-make/

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by yatesd » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:15 pm

camry (bigger car) < corolla isn't surprising, and same with minivans less than sedans, but the 17 vs 0 between the odyssey and sienna is unusual.

It might be an error as these two articles conflict on the sienna with one saying 0 while the other shows 17. Might be different reports or different years.


I thought that stood out too...until I realized the average Sienna driver probably doesn't go over 45mph. :)

We bought our Honda Odyssey when my wife and I were expecting twins and we had (2) 100+lb dogs (Great Pyrenees). Unfortunately, one of the twins didn't make it and we now only have one dog...that being said, my wife and daughter prefer the minivan and I have a hard time getting them to ride in my Cadillac CTS.

We still like having the extra seats for grandparents and carpooling for soccer, etc. This week it was used to transfer a mummy, coffin, and pyramid for a book fair.

The auto doors and tons of storage make minivans one of the safest and most practical choices you can buy. When my daughter was really young we would have her in the middle seat (that slid forward somewhat for safety and access). Storage areas galore and with a V6 it is faster and handles better than most SUV's. I also seem to be less of a target for speeding tickets.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by wander » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:33 pm

likegarden wrote:We experienced that big cars are safer than small cars. A small car rear-ended our 2002 Buick LeSabre years ago at 45 mph: Buick did not show any impact and wife stopped it on side of road, small car front end all smashed up in the meadow.

+1.
A thought about momentum:
m1v1 = m2v2. So, car with smaller mass will experience greater change in velocity. In a car accident, I feel safer in a bigger car.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by greg24 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:19 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
greg24 wrote:A calm and safe driver is safer in a Sienna than a Civic.

There is little evidence for that.

The statistics that are used cannot distinguish between the Sienna being safer and safer drivers picking the Sienna. The people who gather the statistics don't care, but the person picking a car should.


LOL.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by abuss368 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:45 pm

Another vehicle I really like is the Hyundai Santa Fe. 10 year warranty!
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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by random_walker_77 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:59 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
greg24 wrote:A calm and safe driver is safer in a Sienna than a Civic.

There is little evidence for that.

The statistics that are used cannot distinguish between the Sienna being safer and safer drivers picking the Sienna. The people who gather the statistics don't care, but the person picking a car should.


While I agree there's selection bias and that correlation does not make for causation, you should also keep in mind that physics has a say on this too. Conservation of momentum dictates that when a heavy car collides with a small car, the small car and its occupants will experience more acceleration.

More specifically, if you get hit by a car that's twice as heavy as your car, you're going to experience twice the acceleration/force as they do. If you get hit by a car that's half as heavy as your car, you experience half the acceleration that they do. This is a big deal! It means one car might get 25G's while the other car gets 50G's, and in that situation you really would rather be in the big car that experiences 25G's.

This doesn't matter for some accidents, such as rolling a car, or driving it into a lake, off a cliff, etc. But for that subset of accidents that involves colliding with another car, the big car wins, all else being equal*.

*Not wearing your seatbelts is one of those things that would throw this off.
Other things that change the equation are racing-style 5 point harnesses which distribute the force over greater areas, and air bags for the same reason.

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Re: Safest cars for under $30k?

Post by random_walker_77 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:14 pm

One other thing to keep in mind -- how safe is safe "enough"? Before spending money changing cars, you want to also keep the big picture in perspective to determine whether it's worth it to you. For just safety alone, one should probably argue it doesn't matter b/c really, the average person's odds of getting killed in a car crash are pretty slim.

According to the wiki, one person gets killed per 110 million vehicle miles. Each year, for every 100K people in the US, only 11 die in car accidents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mo ... S._by_year

This 2nd wiki list says only 19 people die annually per 100K people due to traffic accidents. And that this represents just 2.1% of deaths, and almost 3/4 of those traffic deaths are male (hmm, what does that say about men :beer )...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ca ... th_by_rate

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