VIDEO: 48 Models Earn Top Safety Pick+ Awards

A total of 48 vehicle models have met tougher criteria to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2016 Top Safety Pick+ award, IIHS said.

To qualify for the top honor, the vehicles had to score “good” ratings in all five IIHS crashworthiness evaluations and an “advanced” or higher rating for front crash prevention.

An additional 13 models qualified for the Top Safety Pick award, IIHS said.

(To view a IIHS video on the subject, click on the link or photo below the headline.)

“We asked auto manufacturers to do more this year to qualify for our safety awards, and they delivered,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “For the first time, a good rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test is a requirement to win, in addition to an available front crash prevention system. How that system rates determines whether a vehicle will earn Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick.” 

The baseline requirements for both awards are “good” ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a standard or optional front crash prevention system.

The 48 winners of the "plus" award have a “superior”- or “advanced”-rated front crash prevention system with automatic braking capabilities. These vehicles must stop or slow down without driver intervention before hitting a target in tests at 12 mph, 25 mph or both. Models with a “basic”-rated front crash prevention system, which typically only issues a warning and doesn't brake, qualify for Top Safety Pick.

IIHS inaugurated the Top Safety Pick award in the 2006 model year. The Top Safety Pick+ honor was introduced in 2012 to recognize vehicles that offer an advanced level of safety.

Last year when IIHS announced the initial winners of the 2015 awards, 33 models qualified for Top Safety Pick+ and 38 qualified for Top Safety Pick. The ranks then grew to 51 Top Safety Pick+ and 48 Top Safety Pick winners. IIHS releases ratings as it evaluates new models, adding to the ranks of winners throughout the year.

The 2016 winner’s circle includes some redesigned models with improved frontal crash protection and autobrake features, which help to prevent or mitigate certain frontal crashes.

The 2016 Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen Passat, for example, earned “good” ratings in the small overlap front test, while earlier models drew “acceptable” scores. Nissan also improved occupant protection in rear crashes and rollovers, boosting the Maxima’s head restraints and seats rating from “marginal” to “good” and its roof strength rating from “acceptable” to “good.” The Maxima's optional front crash prevention system is rated “superior,” and the Passat’s is rated “advanced.” Both midsize cars earned the Top Safety Pick+ award.

Toyota added autobrake to the Avalon and the RAV4 to qualify for Top Safety Pick+. Both were rated "superior" for front crash prevention.

In the award count, Toyota leads manufacturers with nine 2016 Top Safety Pick+ winners, including the Camry midsize car. Honda picked up eight Top Safety Pick+ awards and one Top Safety Pick. Volkswagen/Audi had seven plus-award winners. Six Subaru models qualified for Top Safety Pick+.

For the full list of winners, click here and scroll down to nearly the bottom.