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2017 Buick Verano (GM Photo)

What's the safest car you can buy? The answer, of course, depends on what kind of car you're talking about -- compact, subcompact, SUV, etc. All other things being equal, bigger is usually better, but there are wide variations within each category.

Each year, safety guru Jack Gillis compares the front and side test results in government tests and publishes the results.

This year finds General Motors brands doing well overall, taking top spots in the Subcompact, Compact, and Large sedan categories, with Ford placing first in the Mid-Size SUV, Large SUV, and Pickup categories. European marques were generally shut out. 

Gillis explains that the The Car Book 2017 ratings are based on the government’s crash test results and compared on a relative basis.

"The front crash 1-10 rating is relative to all other 2017 vehicles with test results; the side crash 1-10 rating compares cars and SUVs separately," Gillis said via email. Because Gillis’ rating is relative, the top 10% receive a 10 and the bottom 10% receive a 1 (and so forth).

Here are the best 2017 cars and trucks by size class.                    

SUBCOMPACT

Chevrolet Sonic – 9

Honda Fit – 9

Kia Soul – 9

COMPACT

Buick Verano – 10

Dodge Dart – 9

Ford Focus – 9

Cadillac ATS – 8

INTERMEDIATE

Acura TLX – 10

Subaru Legacy – 10   

Hyundai Sonata – 9

Honda Accord – 9

LARGE

Cadillac XTS – 10

Tesla Model S – 10

Dodge Challenger – 8

MINIVAN

Chrysler Pacifica – 8

Honda Odyssey – 8

SMALL SUV

Acura RDX – 10

Buick Encore – 9

Chevrolet Trax – 9

MID-SIZE SUV

Ford Edge –10

Subaru Outback – 10

Acura MDX – 9

Honda Pilot – 9

LARGE SUV

Ford Expedition – 10

Lincoln Navigator – 10

Buick Enclave – 9

Chevrolet Tahoe – 9

Chevrolet Traverse – 9

GMC Yukon – 9

Toyota Highlander – 9

PICKUPS

Ford F-150 – 10

Chevrolet Silverado – 8

GMC Sierra – 8


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