3 of the safest midsize sedans you can buy

  • Audi

    If you're shopping for a sedan, you want to be sure your choice can keep you and your family safe. This summer the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given its top rating to three sedans that it classifies as midsize -- one luxury car and two from mainstream brands.

    The 2017 Audi A4, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and the 2016 Ford Fusion all got the institute's Top Safety Pick Plus rating. The IIH definition of a safe car is expanding to include not only one that protects you in a crash but one that aims to avoid the crash altogether.

    To get a Top Safety Pick Plus rating, a vehicle must get a score of "Good" in crash tests that cover front and side impacts and rollover accidents. In addition, it must also offer accident-prevention systems such as automatic braking that earn a rating of advanced or superior. If a car with good crash test results has an accident-prevention system rated only as basic, it gets a second-tier Top Safety Pick rating (without the "Plus").

    The crash-test rules for getting a Top Safety Pick Plus designation also have tightened this year. Before, a car could earn this rating with just an Acceptable score in the difficult small overlap front crash test, which simulates hitting a tree or utility pole with the front corner of the vehicle. Now that rating must be "Good" -- the same as for the other four crash tests.

    Let's have a closer look at the midsize sedans with this summer's top safety ratings.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.