Family Vehicles Dominate IIHS 2011 Top Safety Pick Awards

December 23, 2010
In a stunning achievement by automakers in a single year, a total of 66 new 2011 models now earn Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2011 list includes 40 cars, 25 SUVs and one minivan. While that’s great news for consumers in general – safety being a high priority – it’s even better news for those looking for the safest family vehicles.

Families come in all sizes, of course, and need various types of vehicles to accommodate their wants and needs. Looking at the field of 66 winners, arguably all but the single microcar (Ford Fiesta) qualify as family vehicles. But, even granting that the 12 small cars may not generally be considered family cars, that still leaves a whopping 53 vehicles (out of 66) that do.

2011 Volkswagen Touareg

2011 Volkswagen Touareg

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In large cars, twelve models are represented. There are 15 mid-size cars, one minivan (Toyota Sienna), one large SUV (Volkswagen Touareg), 18 mid-size SUVs, and six small SUVs.

In a press release, IIHS cited Hyundai’s quick strides in occupant protection as a case in point. In 2009, the small SUV Hyundai Tucson (and its corporate sibling, the Kia Sportage) earned a poor roof strength rating with the weakest roof of all small SUVs evaluated that year. But a 2011 redesign resulted in a Good rating and Top Safety Pick designation for both models.

2011 Hyundai Sonata

2011 Hyundai Sonata

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Similarly, the mid-size Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento SUV, with an improved roof, and the redesigned Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima mid-size cars now sport Top Safety Pick designations. In the large car category, Hyundai Genesis is also on the list. Check out The Car Connection review of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata as well as The Car Connection review of the 2011 Kia Optima.

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