Research finds large heavy and expensive vehicles decrease your odds of being injured in a crash.

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Research finds large heavy and expensive vehicles decrease your odds of being injured in a crash.

— Does the price of a vehicle have any relation to how safe occupants are in that vehicle? Yes, so says research from the University at Buffalo in New York, and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Researchers discovered not only does the weight of a vehicle have everything to do with surviving a crash, but how much you pay for the vehicle is almost as important.

To reach their conclusions, researchers skipped the standard crash-test ratings and instead, studied personal injury claims in 17 states that have no-fault insurance laws. Researchers looked at the injury claims not only for the driver but also for any passengers.

Using data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the team studied 360 model year 2010-2012 vehicles. Overall, sports cars weren't included because the data didn't account for miles driven per vehicle and sports cars are usually driven less frequently than other types of passenger vehicles.

Researchers said injuries decrease by almost 12 percent for every $10,000 spent on a vehicle, and for every 1,000-pound increase the vehicle is 19 percent safer.

However, some cars popular with consumers didn't do well at all, including the 4-door Toyota Corolla which was 50 percent less safe than average. Additionally, the 2-door Honda Accord was 40 percent less safe and the 4-door Honda Civic was 30 percent less safe than average.

The safest vehicles to drive based on the frequency of personal injury claims:

  • Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • Ford F-150
  • GMC Sierra 2500
  • Land Rover Range Rover
  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • Land Rover LR4
  • Ford F-250 Supercab
  • Volvo XC60
  • Porsche Cayenne
  • Audi A6 4-door
  • Mini COOPER Countryman
  • Toyota Tacoma Xtra Cab
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • Ford F-150 Supercab
  • Ford F-350

The least safest vehicles to drive based on the frequency of personal injury claims:

  • Suzuki SX4
  • Mitsubishi Galant
  • Dodge Avenger
  • Kia Forte
  • Nissan Versa
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Mitsubishi Lancer
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Dodge Caliber
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • Scion tC
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Nissan Versa hatchback
  • Dodge Charger
  • Nissan Altima, 2- and 4-door
  • Chrysler 200
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Honda Accord, 2-door
  • Honda Civic, 2-door
  • Kia Forte, 2-door
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Ford Fiesta

Researchers provided advice to those of us who can't always afford the vehicles we want to protect us. The study found some mid-priced vehicles didn't do best, but were still above average for occupant protection. The Jeep Wrangler, MINI Cooper Countryman, Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Outback are examples of such vehicles.

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