IIHS Names Record 66 Cars To Top Safety Pick List

December 22, 2010

Cars really are getting safer, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick list. More cars and SUVs than ever made the list this year, a record 66 vehicles, despite the addition of a new roof strength requirement to earn the honor.

The roof-strength requirement was initially a high hurdle: only 27 cars made the list to start. After a single year of work to meet the new standard, carmakers have risen to the challenge, with Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi leading the way at nine Top Safety Picks each.

American manufacturers are doing well, too: General Motors and Ford both snagged eight picks apiece, matching Toyota/Lexus/Scion and beating Honda, Nissan, and Mercedes among others. Subaru remains the only carmaker with all of its models on the Top Safety Pick list.

To meet the new roof test, a car must survive a metal plate pushed against one side of the roof at a rate of 0.2 inches per second, withstanding four times the vehicle's weight before deforming more than five inches. The test evaluates the vehicle's strength-to-weight ratio, and is intended to simulate the ability to withstand collapse in a rollover accident.

In addition to the roof-strength test, Top Safety Picks must also clear front, rear, and side impact testing with a range of dummies used to evaluate injury potential.

For a full list of all 66 winners, read on to page two.


ALL 66 WINNERS (red indicates newly-announced winners for 2011)

Large cars
Buick LaCrosse
Buick Regal
BMW 5 series (except 4-wheel drive and V8)
Cadillac CTS sedan
Ford Taurus
Hyundai Genesis
Infinite M37/M56 (except M56x 4-wheel drive)
Lincoln MKS
Mercedes E class coupe
Mercedes E class sedan
Toyota Avalon 
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Audi A3
Audi A4 sedan
Chevrolet Malibu
Chrysler 200 4-door
Dodge Avenger
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Lincoln MKZ 
Mercedes C class
Subaru Legacy 
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Volvo C30

Small cars
Chevrolet Cruze
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Forte sedan
Kia Soul
Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive)
Nissan Cube
Scion tC
Scion xB 
Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback (except WRX)
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Volkswagen GTI 4-door

Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback built after July 2010

Toyota Sienna

Large SUV
Volkswagen Touareg

Midsize SUVs
Audi Q5
Cadillac SRX
Chevrolet Equinox 
Dodge Journey
Ford Explorer
Ford Flex
GMC Terrain
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento built after March 2010
Lexus RX
Lincoln MKT
Mercedes GLK 
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Venza 
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs 
Honda Element
Hyundai Tucson 
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Kia Sportage
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

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