While safety is an important factor for all drivers, when you are looking for the Safest Small SUVs, the more important such consideration becomes – especially for young drivers and families. Entry-level or small, compact SUVs are typically less expensive that their larger counterparts. They may also have less standard and optional safety equipment. Consumers searching for the safest small SUVs should take a good look at these top three picks –  each of which is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

  • Volkswagen TiguanIn addition to IIHS Top Safety Pick, the 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan compact SUV receives excellent scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – 5 stars in frontal and side impact testing and 4 stars in rollover testing. The 5-passenger Tiguan features sporty handling, unique styling, high quality cabin, and powerful, 200-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Left Lane News says, “Like all its VW stablemates, the Tiguan features the Prevent and Preserve Safety System with 45 safety features. Among those are six airbags, with rear side airbags as available options.”
  • Honda ElementIt’s safe (excellent NHTSA crash test scores), funky and fun, depending on your taste, and the boxlike 2010 Honda Element continues to offer a spacious interior with configurable rear seating providing for a number of cargo options – including a new Dog Friendly Package (canine lovers, take note). Reviewers say it’s a compact utility that excels at what it’s designed to do: provide rugged utility and stand out from the pack (the aforementioned Dog Friendly Package, maximum cargo capacity and waterproof floor, among other features). Element only seats four, but, as Edmunds comments: “Even though it’s getting on in years, the 2010 Honda Element remains a good choice for people in need of a compact crossover with a versatile interior design.”
  • Subaru ForesterNow in its third generation (redesigned in 2009), the 2010 Subaru Forester, which looks more like a wagon than an SUV, has upped the cargo and third-row space of the previous design – which is good news for consumers in the market for an inexpensive, safe, compact SUV. Forester also has standard full-time all-wheel drive, impressing reviewers and drivers with its on- and off-road abilities. Consumer Guide says, “Forester is a reasonably priced alternative to compact SUV bellwethers such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. It’s noisier and less refined than those rivals, and its interior ambience is a step behind that of recently-redesigned crossovers. Still, this Recommended pick offers good fuel economy and lots of features for the money, with the 2.5X and 2.5 Premium being the strongest values.”

Safest Small SUVs are worth looking into – they’re reasonably priced, attractively styled, and good on fuel economy and provide lots of options to accommodate diverse needs.

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