-  Photo: IIHS

Photo: IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recognized 49 models for providing the highest level of safety based on the institutes criteria, which is more than double the number that earned the Top Safety Pick+ award last year.

Another 41 vehicles earned Top Safety Pick (without the plus), bringing the total number of 2021 award winners to 90, compared with 64 in February 2020, IIHS said.

Of all manufacturers, Hyundai Motor Group has the most 2021 awards, total. Volvo has the most Top Safety Pick+ awards with nine, IIHS said. This year two minivans, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, qualify for the Top Safety Pick+ award. The Ram 1500 crew cab was the only pickup truck to qualify for a Top Safety Pick. A year ago, there were no minivans or pickups in the winner’s circle.

“With these awards, we want to make it easy for consumers to find vehicles that provide good protection in crashes, sufficient lighting and effective front crash protection,” IIHS President David Harkey says. “Manufacturers have stepped up to meet the challenge, and the list of great options has grown to an impressive size this year.”

Both awards require good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests — driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Award winners must be available with front crash prevention that earns a superior or advanced rating in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

Top Safety Pick winners must also be available with good or acceptable headlights. The “plus” designation is given to models that have good or acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages.

All 49 Top Safety Pick+ winners and 31 Top Safety Pick winners have standard systems that meet the vehicle-to-vehicle requirement. Forty-eight of the Top Safety Pick+ winners and 26 of the Top Safety Pick winners also meet the pedestrian crash prevention criterion with their standard systems. The others qualify based on optional equipment.

The extensive list of criteria for both awards means many vehicles check all boxes but one. Twelve vehicles are only lacking good or acceptable headlights, while seven don’t have pedestrian crash prevention that earns a superior or advanced rating. Only five fall short on crashworthiness. All five lack a good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

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