While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards five-star crash test ratings to various vehicles, Japan's New Car Assessment Program actually proclaims one vehicle to be the safest on the market. For 2010, the title was awarded to the new 2010 Subaru Legacy.
As part of Japan's crash-testing regimen, the annual "safest car" award is doled out to vehicles tested within the evaluation year. After 12 months, the Legacy bested 17 others in safety tests, earning the highest scores in frontal and side crash tests along with the pedestrian head protection test. Naturally, the Legacy also fared well in other parts of the globe with a top five-star rating in the European New Car Assessment Program and five stars for occupant safety in official Australian tests. Here in the United States, the Legacy was awarded five stars across the board by the NHTSA and identified as a 2010 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
The Legacy comes with a host of standard safety features, including high-strength front seat frames to protect against whiplash injuries, dual-stage deployment front airbags, front seat side impact airbags, side curtain airbags, and Vehicle Dynamics Control stability and traction control.
This year's award gives Subaru the hat trick for having Japan's safest car. The Legacy succeeds the Forester, last year's winner, while the Impreza achieved the feat two years ago.