2009 Acura RL
The institute--funded by the insurance industry, and tougher on cars in its crash tests than the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration--says the new Acura RL has superior crash protection as well as standard stability control, making it a natural selection for the IIHS' top honor.
Among the improvements that vaulted the new RL into the ranks of the safety elite are better rear crash performance (up from marginal to good), and an array of safety equipment including forward collision warning and adaptive headlights.
"Criteria to win are tough because TOP SAFETY PICK is intended to drive continued improvements such as good crash test ratings and rapid addition of electronic stability control, which is standard equipment on the RL," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "Recognizing vehicles at the head of the class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple test results."
Honda has nine vehicles on the IIHS' top safety list; Acura has put four vehicles on the list.