Only 15 vehicles meet tougher criteria for 2018 IIHS top safety rating

Pablo Tucker
December 8, 2017

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its list of the safest vehicles.

Another 47 vehicles earned Top Safety Pick honors from IIHS, with Toyota getting the most. IIHS is now demanding better performance from auto makers when it comes to headlights and passenger protection in what are known as small overlap crashes - ones involving just the front corner of the vehicle.

Of the hundreds of vehicle models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions.

But, even as it announces its top safety picks for 2018, an agency that evaluates vehicle safety says automakers can do even better.

Vehicles that come with autobraking also earn high marks.

"We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side, but we weren't seeing that kind of improvement for passengers, said IIHS president Adrian Lund".

"Drivers expect their passengers will be protected as well as they are".

And just a notch below was the Forester and Crosstrek earning the Top Safety Pick award when equipped with EyeSight and LED steering responsive headlights.

Most of the TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards go to two manufacturers: Hyundai Motor Co. - which owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands - has six models earning the award, and Subaru has four. Kia and Subaru models were among the highest rated; no minivans, pickups or mini-cars made the cut. Automakers have committed to making this technology standard by 2022. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety.

Headlights that effectively light up the road are another area where the IIHS has raised its standards. It began measuring both how well low and high beams illuminated the road and the amount of glare they produce for oncoming vehicles as part of its ratings in 2016. If the pattern holds, they'll have to score a good rating next year to make the 2019 list.

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