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What Are the Safest 2012 Cars Under $30,000?

12/29/2012
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To determine the safest 2012 cars, J.D. Power and Associates narrowed the field of focus to those models receiving both a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the IIHS. The 14 passenger-car models discussed below also have a base price of less than $30,000..

2012 Buick Regal The Buick Regal is a midsize family sedan based on a European model called the Opel Insignia. For 2012, the Regal is offered with a choice between four different powertrains, from the mild-hybrid Regal eAssist to the 270-horsepower, turbocharged Regal GS. OnStar telematics comes standard and includes six months of free Automatic Crash Response service, which can speed rescuers to the scene of an accident following an air bag deployment.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze The Chevrolet Cruze is a compact sedan with seating for 5 occupants. Trim level offerings include the base LS model and LT, LTZ, and fuel-economy-maximized Eco. Standard equipment for all trim levels includes 10 air bags, with rear park-assist sensors offered for the LT trim and standard on LTZ. OnStar telematics is also standard, and includes six months of free Automatic Crash Response service, which activates after an air bag deployment to help speed rescue.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic A new model for 2012, the Sonic 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback replace the Aveo as Chevrolet's entry-level subcompact car. Offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, the 2012 Sonic includes 10 standard air bags and six months of free OnStar Automatic Crash Response service.

2012 Chrysler 300 A full-size sedan, the Chrysler 300 looks and feels more like an upscale model and, in higher trim levels with more standard equipment, can rightly be considered a luxury car. Numerous variants are available, ranging from a base model with a V-6 engine to a performance model with a 470-horsepower, 6.1-liter V-8 engine. All except the base model are equipped with a reversing camera, and an optional SafetyTec package adds adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, front and rear park-assist sensors, and more.

2012 Dodge Charger The Dodge Charger is a full-size family sedan offered in a variety of trim levels, ranging from a basic SE model to a performance-tuned SRT8 model. Safety equipment highlights include a driver knee air bag, ready-alert brakes, rain brake support, rain-sensing wipers, park-assist sensors, adaptive cruise control system, forward-collision warning system, blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-path detection system, and more.

2012 Honda Accord Sedan Though the EPA classifies it as a full-size sedan, the 2012 Honda Accord competes against midsize family cars. In its final year before a complete redesign, the 2012 Accord Sedan is offered in five trim levels with a choice between a 4-cylinder and a V-6 engine. All Accords are engineered to Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) standards, which are designed to deflect crash energy away from the passenger compartment. For Bluetooth connectivity and a reversing camera, buyers must choose the top-of-the-line EX-L trim level with leather seats.

2012 Honda Civic Sedan Redesigned for 2012, the Honda Civic Sedan is offered in eight different trim levels, ranging from a basic DX model to a performance-oriented Si model, with luxurious EX-L, economical Hybrid, and green-leaning Natural Gas variants in between. All are designed to Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) standards, which are intended to make the Civic compatible with a wider variety of vehicles in a collision and to deflect crash energy away from passengers.

2012 Hyundai Elantra Sedan Classified as a midsize car by the EPA but priced to compete against compact sedans, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra is offered in the standard GLS or upscale Limited trim. Models equipped with a navigation system include a reversing camera. For 2013, the Elantra Sedan, a new Elantra Coupe, and Elantra GT join the Elantra model lineup.

2012 Hyundai Sonata The Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan sold in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels, with a choice between a standard and a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. A Sonata Hybrid model is also on sale. For 2012, a new Blue Link telematics system debuts with a free limited-time subscription to Automatic Collision Notification and SOS Emergency Assistance services. Blue Link also provides speed and curfew alerts, and reports when the Sonata has been driven beyond a prescribed geographic area. A reversing camera is also added to all models equipped with a navigation system.

2012 Kia Optima Offered with a choice between a standard 4-cylinder engine, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and a hybrid powertrain, the 2012 Kia Optima is a midsize family sedan offered in LX, EX, SX, and Hybrid trim levels. Models equipped with a navigation system include a reversing camera.

2012 Scion tC The Scion tC is a 4-passenger coupe equipped with a hatchback and folding rear seats to expand cargo capacity. Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio is standard, and the Scion tC is equipped with a brake override system that is designed to make it impossible for the car to accelerate when the brake pedal is pressed.

2012 Toyota Camry The Toyota Camry, the best-selling model in America, is a midsize sedan that is redesigned for the 2012 model year. It is offered in four trim levels, with a choice between a 4-cylinder engine, V-6 engine, and a hybrid powertrain. All are equipped with knee air bags for the driver and front passenger and Smart Stop technology, which is designed to prevent the Camry from accelerating when the brake pedal is pressed. The top-of-the-line Camry XLE trim level can be equipped with a reversing camera and Safety Connect telematics service, which speeds rescuers to the scene of the accident if the Camry's air bags deploy.

2012 Toyota Prius A midsize, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback equipped with a standard gas-electric hybrid powertrain, the 2012 Toyota Prius is rated to get 50 mpg in combined driving in addition to achieving top-notch crash-test ratings. Trim levels include Two, Three, Four, and Five. The Prius Four can be optioned with Safety Connect telematics service, which activates when the air bags deploy to speed rescuers to the scene of an accident, while the Prius Five is equipped with an intelligent cruise control system. All models are equipped with Toyota's Smart Stop brake override technology designed to prevent unintended acceleration.

2012 Volkswagen Passat For 2012, the VW Passat is completely redesigned and built specifically for consumers in the United States seeking a comfortable and affordable family sedan. The midsize car is offered with a choice between a 5-cylinder engine, V-6 engine, and a 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, and can be equipped with S, SE, SEL, or SEL Premium trim. All include free scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles, and a reversing camera system is optional..

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