Last week, we showed you the 10 most unreliable cars of 2013, but wanted to leave some hope for the future (the new year is fast approaching – we like to start it off on the right foot). This time we’re featuring the 10 safest cars for 2014, but you’ll be pleased to see some stylish, high performing vehicles among the safest.

Car Safety Ratings

New car, truck and SUV safety is a difficult thing to gauge not only because there are two main sources of information regarding crash testing—in the United States the Federal Government runs the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), which also issues vehicle recalls, and there is also the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), which recently came out with an even more stringent test for new models, but also because “safety” can be a relative term when it comes to something as personal and important as driving. While we find the NHTSA’s results to be quite useful when shopping for a new car, their five star system for front, side and rear impact protection is less telling than what the IIHS has to tell shoppers on their www.iihs.org website.

Also, with every year more men have accidents than women and SUV drivers also manage to avoid crashes more often. So in the spirit of walking away from your next crash, we researched car death rates for models that you can still buy on the IIHS website (this doesn’t sound positive, but we get there, I promise!). Yes, they compile such macabre data and we bet you wonder what car people die in the most? The Nissan Z coupe, according to the numbers, which we can see being true given the heroically powerful nature of that car.

The Safest New Cars

Last week Ford took a pretty big hit in terms of reliability, but the brand makes the list again this week for much better reasons. Here is our list of the 10 safest cars of 2014:

Best Large Luxury Sedan: Audi A6

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Audi A6

Image: Audi

Much to our amazement, the IIHS had no record of anyone ever having died in this Audi in the last five years. We mean, of course, in accidents. Not if they die of natural causes while enjoying this luxurious car’s gorgeous interior fittings.

Best Minivan: Toyota Sienna

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Toyota Sienna

Image: Toyota

Again, this minivan wowed us with its ultra-low death rate in crash tests over a four year period. However, we can’t discount the likelihood that minivan owners drive more carefully, likely due to having kids in tow.

Best Midsize SUV: Ford Edge

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Ford Edge

Image: Car and Driver 

The Edge surpassed all other midsize family SUVs by offering up a level of safety that must have something to do with the time the Blue Oval owned Volvo.

Best Compact SUV: Honda CR-V

10 Safest Cars for 2014 - Honda CRV

Image: James Hamel

It’s funny that the compact SUV that sells the most units, has the greatest resale value and routinely wins quality awards is also the safest. On second thought, maybe it’s not that funny.

Best Compact: Subaru Impreza

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Subaru Impreza

Image: Subaru

The entire Subaru lineup is currently a “Top Safety Pick” according to the IIHS. Admittedly, the latest Civic’s 2013 restyle saw it receive the slightly lower “Safety Pick Plus” designation, but you can’t discount the security of all-wheel drive if you live in snow country (or you’re a San Diegan with a love for the mountains).

Best Luxury: Volvo S60

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Volvo S60

Image: James Hamel

Not only does this sexy luxury sedan not allow you to hit cars or pedestrians thanks to technology like City Safe, but it is also surprisingly fun to drive as well. The car uses cameras to detect objects, cars, pedestrians and bicyclists in your path and brakes the car for you.

Best Pickup Truck: Toyota Tundra

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Toyota Tundra

Image: James Hamel

It appears that Toyota may not have won the full size pickup truck sales race as of yet, but the death rates for the Tundra are remarkably lower than those for F-150, Ram and any GM model.

Best 7 Passenger SUV: Honda Pilot

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Honda Pilot

Image: Honda

Honda’s hugest selling models also appear to be their safest as the numbers for Accord and CR-V also attest.

Best Luxury SUV: Range Rover Sport

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Range Rover Sport

Image: Land Rover

Color us surprised that the Range Rover Sport won this section over even a Volvo SUV, which proves that even though celebrities prefer the Rover there really is nothing wrong with it.

Best Family Sedan: Honda Accord

10 Safest Cars for 2014 - Honda Accord

Image: James Hamel

The most fun to drive, currently a style and technology leader, the Honda Accord is also the family sedan with the lowest death rate averages. Surprise!

Best Large Sedan: Chrysler 300

10 Safest Cars of 2014 - Chrysler 300

Image: Chrysler

Safe doesn’t have to mean boring or underpowered. The available Hemi V8 and the Chrysler 300’s excellent showing in crash tests and death rates demonstrates that.

Does our list change your mind for your next car purchase? Or perhaps there’s a vehicle here that you’re surprised to see? Let us  know!

James HamelBio: James Hamel is a freelance road tester, auto journalist, and Motor Press Guild full member. Find past work at Autobytel.com and current work at http://iSeeCars.com. Contact James at jims455@aol.com.