VIDEO: 2017 Top Safety Pick+ Winners

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named 38 vehicle models 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award winners and 44 models Top Safety Pick winners.

IIHS toughened the criteria for Top Safety Pick+ to reflect new headlight evaluations launched in 2016. The recognition program is meant to encourage manufacturers to offer advanced protection for vehicle occupants in crashes, along with features that help drivers avoid crashes in the first place.

“The field of contenders is smaller this year because so few vehicles have headlights that do their job well, but it’s not as small as we expected when we decided to raise the bar for the awards,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “Manufacturers are focusing on improving this basic safety equipment, and we’re confident that the winners’ list will grow as the year progresses.”

For both Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards, models must earn the highest score of “good” in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention with standard or optional autobrake. Headlights are factored in only for the top award.

Toyota/Lexus leads manufacturers with nine 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award winners, including the updated Toyota Corolla. Honda and its Acura division picked up five Top Safety Pick+ awards.

Among 2017 models, only seven are available with “good”-rated headlights. They are the Chevrolet Volt small car, Honda Ridgeline pickup, Hyundai Elantra small car, Hyundai Santa Fe mid-size SUV, Subaru Legacy mid-size car, Toyota Prius v mid-size car, and Volvo XC60 mid-size luxury SUV.

IIHS launched headlight ratings in the spring after lab tests revealed that government standards allow for huge variation in the amount of illumination headlights provide in on-road driving. Nighttime visibility is critical to highway safety because about half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk, IIHS said.

In the IIHS evaluations, engineers measure how far light is projected from a vehicle’s low beams and high beams, as the vehicle travels straight and on curves. Also measured is glare from low beams for oncoming drivers. Vehicles equipped with high-beam assist, which automatically switches between high beams and low beams depending on the presence of other vehicles, can get extra credit.

IIHS noted that its evaluations demonstrate that a vehicle’s price tag doesn’t correspond to the quality of headlights. More modern lighting types, including high-intensity discharge (HID) and LED lamps along with curve-adaptive systems, also are no guarantee of top performance.

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn “good” ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention, and a “good” or “acceptable” headlight rating. Here are the winners:

Small Cars

Chevrolet Volt

Hyundai Elantra sedan only; built after March

2016 Mazda 3  4-door sedan | 4-door hatchback

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Prius built after August 2016

Mid-size Cars

Honda Accord 4-door

Mazda 6

Nissan Altima

Nissan Maxima

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Toyota Camry

Toyota Prius v

Volkswagen Jetta

Mid-size luxury cars

Audi A4

Lexus ES 350

Volvo S60

Volvo V60

Large luxury cars

Genesis G80

Genesis G90

Lexus RC

Small SUVs

Mazda CX-3

Mitsubishi Outlander

Nissan Rogue

Subaru Forester built after October 2016

Toyota RAV4

Mid-size SUVs

Honda Pilot

Hyundai Santa Fe built after March 2016

Mid-size luxury SUVs

Acura MDX

Acura RDX

Audi Q5

Buick Envision

Lexus NX

Lexus RX

Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Volvo XC60


Chrysler Pacifica built after August 2016

Large pickup

Honda Ridgeline

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn “good” ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, as well as an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention. Here are those winners:


Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-door

Toyota Yaris iA

Small Cars

Acura ILX

Honda Civic 2-door

Honda Civic 4-door

Lexus CT 200h

Nissan Sentra

Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru WRX

Volkswagen Golf 4-door

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen

Volkswagen GTI 4-door

Mid-size Cars

Chevrolet Malibu

Chrysler 200

Ford Fusion

Honda Accord 2-door

Hyundai Sonata

Kia Optima

Volkswagen Passat

Mid-size Luxury Cars

Audi A3

BMW 2 series

Lincoln MKZ

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4-door

Large Cars

Toyota Avalon

Large luxury cars

Acura RLX

Audi A6

Infiniti Q70 except V8 4-wheel drive models

Volvo S90

Small SUVs


Fiat 500X

Hyundai Tucson

Kia Sportage

Mid-size SUVs

GMC Acadia

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Kia Sorento

Nissan Murano

Nissan Pathfinder

Mid-size luxury SUVs

Cadillac XT5

Infiniti QX60

Lincoln MKX

Volvo XC90

Large SUV

Audi Q7


Kia Sedona

Of the 38 Top Safety Pick+ winners, only seven are available with headlights that earned a top rating of “good.” Performance can vary by vehicle trim level, so vehicle buyers need to ask for the highest-rated headlights, IIHS recommended. Twenty-one award-winning models come with a standard autobrake system.