auto-1020051_640Small cars aren’t just affordable — they have great safety features too. But, unless you know where to get good deals or find these incredible cars, there’s a good chance you’ll be stuck with just another lame, ordinary, vehicle.

And, by buying a safer, stylish car that doesn’t break the bank, you finally get to be the hip consumer you’ve always wanted to be. Want to make your friends jealous? Here’s what savvy consumers can teach you.

The Ford Focus

Both the sedan and the hatchback version of Ford’s entry-level vehicle are affordable and safe. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated this as one of the safest vehicles on the road. It awarded the 2014 model of this vehicle with the highest safety rating, naming it a Top Safety Pick+ car.

The Focus passed all the tests the IIHS threw at it — passing even a roof strength test that simulates the vehicle rolling over in an accident. If you want to see more vehicles in the Ford family, view St. Louis Motor City dealership.

The Nissan Altima

Nissan has been stepping up its game in recent years to try and compete in this arena. It’s creating and recreating vehicles that are incredibly compelling. And, the offer this year is no disappointment. The current Altima is the most attractive form this midsized sedan has taken on yet.

It features a zone body construction to help keep crash forces away from passengers. It uses Vehicle Dynamic Control to avoid accidents. And, it employs the latest in airbag technology to help minimize damage to passengers if there is an accident.

Because of all this, it was put on the Top Safety Pick+ list.

Subaru Legacy

Another vehicle that made the list is the Subaru Legacy. This car is practically made of safety. Unlike expensive brands out there, however, Subarus are more in-line with middle-American shoppers’ budgets. The Legacy is the brand’s flagship vehicle, and has the best safety innovations in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. For example, the vehicle boasts a reinforced frame that’s shaped like a ring. It helps prevent deformation in a serious wreck.

It also helps avoid accidents with technologies like Subaru EyeSight, brake assist, and the vehicle dynamic control.

Scion tC

The FR-S is the cool-looking member of the Scion family. But, the tC is one of the original models in the brand’s family. It shines when it comes to practicality too. The safety features include a front knee airbag for the driver and passenger. It’s a feature normally found in vehicles that are much more expensive. The tC also boasts a muscular design scheme and a “fun” spirit that most young people love.

But, let’s not forget the important part: The IIHS named the tC as a Top Safety Pick+.

The Dodge Dart

Not a name you expect to be on this list, but here it is. The compact car from Dodge looks great, but it surprisingly safe, too. The Dart was named as 2013’s Top Safety Pick+ car by the IIHS. While the car did well in all crash tests, it did exceptionally well in the medium overlap test.

The secret is the Dart’s many, many airbags that protect the driver, deploying in the passenger and back of the vehicle as well. All-told, passengers will get protection in both the front and rear, side curtain airbags, pelvic airbags, for the rear and outboard seat passengers, and a driver’s knee bag.

Mazda6

The midsized sedan from Mazda doesn’t disappoint. From the same company that brought you those cool “zoom, zoom” commercials, comes the Mazda6. It has increased safety standards which include an advanced front-crash avoidance rating. On top of that, the car picked up a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS, making yet another vehicle that meets or exceeds the standards for being one of the safest cars on the road.

Honda Civic

Who doesn’t love a good old Honda Civic? Throughout the years, the Honda staple has built up quite a reputation, and for good reason. In the past, the Civic struggled with safety issued. This was especially true with head restraints. But, Honda solved that problem. Now the Civic earns the coveted Top Safety Pick+.

One of the most incredible things about this is that, because there are many different trim levels for the Civic, there’s probably a price point for every consumer.

Not every vehicle out there is safe. And, while they all pass basic safety tests, they don’t all carry the Top Safety Pick+ designation. And, if you’re looking for the safest car on the road for you and your family, this is what you absolutely must have.

Lara Bentley works for an auto retailer and has always been a bit of a tomboy, more interested in toy cars than dolls as a child. In her free time she enjoys blogging and writing articles, these usually focus on cars in some way.