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Family car safety

We have two cars and want to keep only the safest… which one??? How the heck do we compare the safety of a 2007 Toyota Highlander with a 2005 VW Passat TDI wagon???

do either have side airbags?

There are many ways to interpret “safest.” Of your two, I’d pick the VW as it will handle an evasive maneuver better than the higher center of gravity Toyota. Airbags, ABS, seat belts, etc. save your butt in an accident, but avoiding the accident is even more important.

Both have side airbags.

“Safest?” Good luck figuring that one out. I suppose you’d have to describe what “safety” means to you.

Personally, even though I’m not a fan of SUVs, I’d recommend the newer vehicle, in this case the 2007 Highlander.

But then I feel perfectly safe in either my '96 Subaru or my ‘97 Acura, neither of which has the "advantages’ your vehicles have.

The most important safety “feature,” regardless of vehicle, is still the DRIVER.

You can be safe, or unsafe, in any vehicle, depending on who’s driving. The vehicle isn’t going to save you.

Like others have suggested, what is safest depends on your perspective. Some believe a large vehicle, which is more likely to protect its passengers in a collision, is the safer vehicle. Personally, I take the other track. A nimble vehicle that is more maneuverable and can avoid a collision is the safer vehicle in my opinion. I would rather avoid a collision than survive one.

According to CR, stability, traction contol is one of the best safety features since airbags and sea belts. The Higjlander has them along with awd which with stability contol, enhances it’s safety. Along with it’s added mass, if the VW does not have these features, it’s a no brainer; the Highlander. The VW may technically take corners at higher speeds, but with this feature, the car will be slowed and aided in no way that a non stability control car can. It there are slippery conditions, you are at a huge advantage in the Highlander.

According to the Hihgway Data Loss Institute (all the insurance companies you ever heard of), the medical payout is slightly less for the Highlander than the Passat. Passat data is not available for the wagon (only sedan), but losses for those categories covered indicate that the medical losses will be about the same as the Highlander or slightly worse. I suggest that you pick the one you like best since the difference is so small.

My opinion echoes the sentiments already stated here, with two minor additions of my own:

Safety is overrated. The likelihood of you ever needing those side-impact airbags is miniscule. I think it more likely that one of your family will be injured falling down the stairs than in a serious car wreck. Look first to reliability and ease of maintenance.

The best safety device is a careful person. Regardless of which vehicle you choose, the one in which the driver is most comfortable and at ease will be the safer one.

If you plan to run into something in town, the Toyota. If you plan to roll over at 80 MPH, you could use the Volkswagen because it is designed to protect you while doing that.

Agree; the safety is in the driver. Keep the Highlander (far fewer future headaches and easier on the pocketbook) and live happily ever after while driving SAFELY!

According to this web site (that pulls the various safety ratings together and assigns a score) they’re just about equal, both with not so good rear crash ratings.

I vote for the one with the most safe driver. If I had to choose, I would go with the 2007 as it is old enough that problems should have mostly been found and fixed and it is new enough to have the better safety systems.