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Video: 39 Vehicles Draw IIHS Safety Awards

December 19, 2013

Twenty-two vehicles have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest safety award for 2014, Top Safety Pick+, and an additional 17 have earned the institute's Top Safety Pick honor by meeting the crashworthiness criteria alone, IIHS announced.

Honda/Acura has the most winners of any automaker, with six models earning Top Safety Pick+ and two earning Top Safety Pick. 

IIHS is using new criteria for the awards this year. Top Safety Pick requires “good” performance in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and, for the first time, “good” or “acceptable” performance in the small overlap front test introduced in 2012. The same level of performance in those tests, along with at least a “basic” rating for front crash prevention, is required for the higher accolade, Top Safety Pick+.

The front crash prevention features of the Top Safety Pick+ winners run the gamut from basic warning systems, such as those offered on the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and Honda's four winners, to Subaru's EyeSight warning and autobrake system. EyeSight avoids a collision in tests at both 12 mph and 25 mph and is available on the Forester, Legacy and Outback.

Most of the Top Safety Pick+ winners qualify for the award only when equipped with optional front crash prevention systems. When those vehicles aren’t equipped with the features, they still meet the regular Top Safety Pick criteria. The Volvo S60, S80 and XC60 and the Honda Civic hybrid earned Top Safety Pick+ on the basis of standard equipment, IIHS said.

The 2014 Top Safety Pick+ winners include eight models that didn’t earn the award in 2013. Among them are fully redesigned models, including the Acura MDX and RLX, Infiniti Q50, Mazda 3 and Toyota Highlander. Among Top Safety Pick winners, the Chevrolet Spark minicar is a new model. 

Some winners that did not undergo a full redesign were modified to improve small overlap performance. This includes the popular Toyota Camry, which now qualifies for Top Safety Pick, IIHS said. The 2012-13 Camry models were rated “poor” for protection in a small overlap front crash, but the 2014 model drew an “acceptable” rating. The Toyota Prius and the Mazda CX-5 also were tweaked and drew the Top Safety Pick+ designation. Changes to these vehicles and some others were made after the 2014 model year started.

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