The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

IIHS Gives 6 Small Cars 'Top Safety Pick' Honor

June 01, 2011

ARLINGTON, VA – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluated 13 small cars, six of which earned the organization’s Top Safety Pick award, and none of which earned a “poor” rating in any of the four tests performed on each vehicle. The organization said the new tests included a number of fuel-efficient hybrids and gasoline-only models.

The IIHS said it rates safety performance on results from front, side, rollover, and rear impact tests. Cars that earn the top rating of “good” in these tests, and have electronic stability control (ESC) as a feature, qualify for the Top Safety Pick award.

The six Top Safety Pick award winners include the following:

  • 2012 Ford Focus
  • 2012 Honda Civic
  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011 Lexus CT 200h hybrid
  • 2011 Nissan Juke
  • 2011 Toyota Prius hybrid

Other vehicles evaluated included the Dodge Caliber, Honda CR-Z and Insight hybrids, Nissan Sentra and Versa, Scion xD, and Suzuki SX4, though these models did not earn the Top Safety Pick award.
The Institute began awarding Top Safety Pick for the 2006 model year with less stringent criteria than today. Then, the IIHS said only three small cars earned the designation (Honda Civic, Saab 9-2X, and Subaru Impreza). Now 22 small models, including those the Institute tested previously, earned the award, even while facing tougher requirements, including a roof strength test, an ESC requirement to help drivers avoid crashes, and a higher bar for rear impact protection.

Acceptable ratings in one or more evaluations kept 5 of the 13 small cars off the Top Safety Pick list. That was the case for the Honda CR-Z and Insight, Nissan Versa and Sentra, and Scion xD. None of the cars recently tested earn a poor rating in any evaluation.

Click here for a PDF from IIHS that shows the ratings each vehicle achieved during the tests.

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