With 18 new winners, this year’s Top Safety Pick is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s longest yet, breaking the record with models spanning a variety of segments.
The Top Safety Pick Award is based on evaluations done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which include the 4 most common types of crashes and the cars that do the best in front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection. Winning criteria has not changed from this year to last. Although ESC no longer being required because as of the 2012 model year, all vehicles must be equipped with it.
In total, 115 models have been awarded, 69 of which are cars and 38 SUV’s are included, along with 5 minivans and 3 pickups. Ninety-seven of these models were 201 Top Safety picks, as well.
“For the second year running a record number of models qualify,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “It’s tough to win, and we commend auto manufacturers for making safety a top priority.”
All of the major automakers have a winner in the Top Safety Pick this year, as was the case for last year. Even though last year many vehicles failed the roll-over test, the 66 that originally passed grew because the Institute tests all year long, so as improvements were made, the list got longer.
Subaru is the only automaker who earns an award for every model in its lineup. Toyota, along with Lexus and Scion brands, take awards for 15 of the 2012 models made, GM has 14, Volkswagen and Audi take 13 together, Ford and Lincoln make up for 12 awards, as do Honda and Acura.
“Honda/Acura deserves credit for most-improved status,” Lund says. “The automaker buckled down and upgraded roofs on 10 models that missed winning last year because of rollover protection. Now, the automaker has winners in the minicar, small car, midsize car, small SUV, midsize SUV, minivan, and large pickup categories.”
“It’s great to see the Accord and Camry, 2 of the top-selling midsize cars in the U.S. market, join the Top Safety Pick ranks this year,” Lund says. “The Accord previously won the 2009 award but has been missing from the list since then.”
The emphasis on rollover protection seems largely due to the Institutes findings that roofs need twice the strength the government requires them to have to protect against fatalities in crashes.
“When we launched Top Safety Pick in 2005, consumers had 11 models to pick from. Six years later, finding a winner that fits most budgets and lifestyles is easy,” Lund says. “It’s a testament to the commitment automakers have made to going above and beyond minimum safety standards.”
ALL 115 WINNERS:
Fiat 500 built after July 2011
Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback
Toyota Yaris 4-door hatchback
Honda Civic 4-door
Kia Forte sedan
Lexus CT 200h
Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback
Mini Cooper Countryman
Mitsubishi Lancer except Ralliart and Evolution
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Volkswagen GTI 4-door
Midsize moderately priced cars
Chrysler 200 4-door
Toyota Prius v
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Midsize luxury/near luxury cars
Acura TL built after September 2011
Acura TSX sedan and hatchback
Volkswagen CC except 4-wheel drive
Large family cars
Large luxury cars
BMW 5 series except 4-wheel drive and V8
Cadillac CTS sedan
Infiniti M37/M56 except M56x 4-wheel drive
Mercedes E-Class sedan
Mercedes E-Class coupe
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Midsize luxury SUVs
Chrysler Town & Country
Dodge Grand Caravan
Ford F-150 crew cab models
Toyota Tundra crew cab models
– By: Alexandra Koken