Every few years, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) releases a report on the deadliest vehicles on the road. Compiling these statistics and developing a trend line takes several years so the data is always lagging behind. The newest IIHS report was just released and includes data on all vehicles, model years 2005-2008, with 100,000 registrations or more, in car crashes which involved the death of a driver (passengers are not counted in this particular study).
Not surprisingly, smaller cars proved most dangerous for drivers, with the exception of poorly-designed pickups. By contrast, SUVs represented the safest class of cars among all others.
Below is a list of the 10 ‘deadliest’ vehicles on the road based on the highest number of car accident deaths per million registrations. Chevrolet and Nissan lead the way, with four vehicles represented on the deadliest vehicle list each. For those in the market looking for a used car or truck, it might be wise to check this list before purchasing. (use the left and right arrows below to navigate through the images)
10. Chevy Colorado Extended Cab
While smaller cars accounted for the vast majority of driver fatalities, GM’s 2005-2008 Chevy Colorado Extended Cab 2WD pickup has the distinction of being one of the largest vehicles to make the top 10 deadliest list, representing 93 deaths per million registrations. The majority of these fatalities were the result of single-vehicle crashes, calling factors of stability and ease of handling—especially when a driver is faced with a dangerous situation—into question.
9. & 8. Nissan Versa Sedan & Hyundai Tiburon
Sharing the spotlight for 9th and 8th places, respectively, are the Nissan Versa Sedan, model years 2005-2008; and the Hyundai Tiburon, each accounting for 96 driver deaths per million registrations over the four-year study period. Like the Chevy Colorado Extended Cab, the majority of deaths in these two vehicles were due to single-vehicle crashes (60 per million registrations for the Nissan Versa; 63 per million for the Tiburon), once again raising the issue of these vehicles’ capacity for maneuverability under dangerous conditions.
7. Chevrolet Malibu
The Chevy Malibu, 2005-2008, was panned by critics for its lack of style and poor performance. Reviews were consistently so bad, in fact, that many of them were consigned to vehicle fleets. IIHS says that their relegation to fleet car status may explain the high death rate associated with them: 99 per million registrations. Unlike its closest competitors on the deadliest list—the Tiburon, Versa Sedan and Chevy Colorado Extended Cab—the majority of deaths in the Malibu, 63 per million registrations, were the result of multi-car collisions, suggesting a lack of “crashworthiness” or how well the vehicle protects its occupants in during a car crash.
6. KIA Spectra Wagon
The Kia Spectra wagon, 2005-2008, racked up 102 driver deaths per million registrations with the majority—63 per million—being the result of multi-vehicle collisions.
5. Nissan Titan Extended Cab
111 drivers per million registrations died in a Nissan Titan Extended Cab during the four-year study period, and like the Chevy Colorado Extended Cab, the majority of these fatalities (77 per million registrations) occurred in single-vehicle crashes.
4. Chevy Cobalt
The Chevy Cobalt, model years 2005-2008, accounted for 117 driver deaths per million registrations. The Cobalt, however, had already established its reputation as one of the deadliest cars on the road due to its infamous role in GM’s faulty ignition switch scandal.
3. Chevy Aveo
Ring up another one for Chevrolet which, like Nissan, bears the distinction of having four of its 2005-2008 models make the deadliest list. The Chevy Aveo accounted for 119 driver deaths per million car registrations, half of which were due to single-vehicle crashes; the other half, multi-car collisions.
2. Nissan Titan Crew Cab
The Nissan Titan Crew Cab 2 WD, model years 2005-2008, is another example of the deadly consequences wrought by poorly-designed pickups. It accounted for 126 driver deaths per million registrations with 94 per million registrations occurring in single-vehicle crashes.
1. Nissan 350Z
At 143 deaths per million registrations, the Nissan 350Z has top billing for being the most lethal car for drivers on the road: 143 drivers per million registrations perished behind the wheel of the Nissan 350Z over the four year study period with the majority of these fatalities—90 per million—representing single-vehicle collisions.