IIHS Releases 2018 Top Vehicle Safety Picks

2018 Subaru Outback Crash Test IIHS

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

A total of 11 Toyota and Lexus models were included in the 2018 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award winners. Toyota has 10 model-year 2018 vehicles on the Top Safety Pick list, and Hyundai represented with nine. IIHS is now demanding better performance from auto makers when it comes to headlights and passenger protection in what are known as small overlap crashes - ones involving just the front corner of the vehicle.

To earn the IIHS 2018 Top Safety Pick+ award a vehicle must receive a "Good" rating for five tests of high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test and evaluations of seat and head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

Vehicles that come with autobraking also earn high marks. The institute said it devised a passenger-side small overlap front crash test because some manufacturers weren't paying enough attention to the issue.

"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", IIHS President Adrian Lund said in a statement. The track tests, which measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other.

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Preventing a crash with auto braking is also now part of the IIHS's safety tests.

Leading the way this year for the most top safety pick plus awards are Hyundai and Subaru. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru's lineup, the BRZ, qualified for one of the awards. That list could grow, since IIHS has not yet reviewed all models and variations and plans to review more throughout 2018. Automakers have committed to making this technology standard by 2022.

"Cars are safer now than they ever have been", Lund believes with even more improvements in crash test performance and headlights, vehicles will be even safer down the road. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety.

The Institute releases ratings as it evaluates new models, adjusting the list of winners throughout the year.

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