Highway Safety Institute Lists a Record Number of Top Safety Picks

December 16, 2011

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced winning vehicles for this year’s Top Safety Pick. Good news for drivers: at 115, the number of winners is greater than ever this year.

The award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute evaluations.

Specifically, frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. In the roof strength test, a metal plate is pushed against a side of a roof at a displacement rate of 0.2 inch per second. Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure, with starting points measuring the head restraint geometry. Seat/head restraints with good or acceptable geometry are tested using a dummy that measures forces on the neck.

The ratings, which cover all 4 of the most common kinds of crashes, are designed to help shoppers pick vehicles that offer the highest levels of crash protection.

In all, 69 cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans, and 3 pickups were recognized. The winners’ circle includes 18 new recipients for 2012, while 97 models that previously qualified for the 2011 award carry over to 2012.

“For the second year running a record number of models qualify,” said Institute president Adrian Lund. “It’s tough to win, and we commend auto manufacturers for making safety a top priority.”

Again this year every major automaker has at least one winner. Subaru remains the only manufacturer with the distinction of earning awards for every model it builds. Subaru picked up 5 awards, including one for the redesigned Impreza, a small car.

Toyota/Lexus/Scion has 15 winners for 2012, more than any other auto manufacturer. General Motors is next in line with 14, followed by Volkswagen/Audi with 13, and Ford/Lincoln and Honda/Acura with 12 awards apiece.

The full list can be found at: www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr121511.html

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