US: five-star ratings aside, bigger and pricier means safer image

On numerous occasions conventional wisdom has worked from false assumptions, but at least in this occasion it’s not the case, as a new study coming from the University of Buffalo demonstrates.

Popular belief has always attributed a higher safety to bigger vehicles – which is one traditional way of explaining the American love for hulking SUVs, pickup trucks and crossovers. Today though, even very small cars on sale across the market can reach up to five-star crash ratings, but that in turn doesn’t take into account one real world occurrence – one small car being impacted by a large one, or in the worst case scenario, an 18-wheeler. The fine line seen by the study presented during the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, is that larger, expensive vehicles also have the tendency to be the safest. “The most important point of our study is that vehicle weight and price have a positive relationship with vehicle safety,” commented Dr. Dietrich Jehle, a professor of emergency medicine at University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The study made do without traditional industry data and using their own methodology, the researchers actually relegated very popular choices such as the Honda Accord and Civic, or Toyota Corolla in the “least safe” category, because vehicles such as those had 40 percent more injuries than across the industry average. At the other end of the spectrum sit massive rides such as the Ford F-150, Land Rover Range Rover, Chevrolet Silverado and Cadillac Escalade ESV. One notable addition to the “safest” list comes from a British automaker: Mini’s Countryman crossover.