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IIHS Lists The 39 Safest Cars For 2014 (Video)

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By now, most of the auto world's 2014 models have rolled into showrooms. They've also made appearances on test tracks and crash sets so that various entities can evaluate their reliability and safety features.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is one of those entities, and it's just published a list of the safest 2014 models. The list includes 17 vehicles that attained the rank of "Top Safety Pick", meaning that they earned a "good" score in four key tests: side collision, moderate front overlap collision, roof strength, and head restraint. They were also rated as "good" or "acceptable" on the small front overlap collision test that the IIHS began using in 2012.

The remaining 22 vehicles scored the IIHS' highest rating of "Top Safety Pick+". To achieve that, they had to earn the same scores as the "Top Safety Picks", and they also needed to employ an effective collision-avoidance system that included both alerts and some degree of automated braking.

IIHS president Adrian Lund explains: "We've made it more difficult for manufacturers this year. Following a gradual phase-in, the small overlap crash is now part of our basic battery of tests, and good or acceptable performance should be part of every vehicle's safety credentials. We also felt it was time to offer extra recognition to manufacturers that are offering a proven crash avoidance technology."

To prove Lund's point, just last year -- before the small front overlap test was included as part of the basic test battery, and before collision-avoidance systems were considered in the rankings -- 130 models made the IIHS' list of "Top Safety Pick" and "Top Safety Pick+" winners. This year, just 39 did so.

Without further ado, here are the winners, broken down by the IIHS into their various segments:

TOP SAFETY PICK FOR 2014

Minicar
Chevrolet Spark

Small cars
Dodge Dart
Ford Focus
Honda Civic 2-door
Hyundai Elantra
Scion tC
Subaru Impreza
Subaru XV Crosstrek

Midsize moderately priced cars
Chrysler 200 4-door
Dodge Avenger
Kia Optima
Nissan Altima
Toyota Camry built after November 2013
Volkswagen Passat 

Midsize luxury/near-luxury car 
Acura TL

Small SUV
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Midsize luxury SUV
Volvo XC90 

TOP SAFETY PICK+ FOR 2014

Small cars
Honda Civic 4-door hybrid only 
Mazda 3 built after October 2013 
Toyota Prius built after November 2013

Midsize moderately priced cars
Ford Fusion 
Honda Accord 2-door 
Honda Accord 4-door 
Mazda 6 
Subaru Legacy 
Subaru Outback

Midsize luxury/ near-luxury cars
Infiniti Q50 
Lincoln MKZ
Volvo S60

Large luxury cars
Acura RLX
Volvo S80

Small SUVs
Mazda CX-5 built after October 2013
Mitsubishi Outlander
Subaru Forester

Midsize SUV
Toyota Highlander

Midsize luxury SUVs
Acura MDX
Mercedes-Benz M-Class built after August 2013
Volvo XC60

Minivan
Honda Odyssey

Do these winners surprise you? Intrigue you? Would you be more inclined to consider one of these vehicles because it scored well on the IIHS' safety tests? Or do you prioritize other features like fuel economy and design? Sound off in the comments below. 

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