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IIHS Announces 2016 Top Safety Pick+ Awards

IIHS Announces 2016 Top Safety Pick+ Awards

By Joseph Dobrian, December 10, 2015

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced that 48 new car and SUV models have earned a “Top Safety Pick+” award for 2016, having received “Good” ratings in all five IIHS crashworthiness evaluations plus an “Advanced” or higher rating for front crash prevention. Another 13 models, including the Ford F-150 SuperCrew pickup, qualify for a “Top Safety Pick” designation.

The baseline requirements for both awards are “Good” ratings in the Institute’s small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests, as well as a standard or optional front crash-prevention system. The recipients of the “Plus” designation have a “Superior” or “Advanced” rating for front crash-prevention system with automatic braking capabilities. These vehicles must stop or slow down without driver intervention before hitting a target, in tests at 12 mph, 25 mph, or both. Models with a “Basic” rating for front crash prevention, which typically only issues a warning and doesn’t brake, qualify for a “Top Safety Pick” designation.

Last year, the IIHS announced that 33 models qualified for a “Top Safety Pick+” award and another 38 qualified as a “Top Safety Pick.” With late additions, the list grew to 51 “Top Safety Pick+” and 48 “Top Safety Pick” winners.

The 2016 winner’s circle includes some redesigned models with improved front crash protection and autobrake features, which help to prevent or mitigate certain frontal crashes, such as the Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen Passat.

“We asked auto manufacturers to do more this year to qualify for our safety awards, and they delivered,” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “For the first time, a ‘Good’ rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test is a requirement to win, in addition to an available front crash-prevention system. How that system rates determines whether a vehicle will earn Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick.”

Several previous winners are missing from the new lists, including some small and midsize cars. Last year, models with an “Acceptable” small overlap crash rating could qualify for either award if their other four crashworthiness ratings were “Good.” An available front crash-prevention system was required only for “Top Safety Pick+” and not “Top Safety Pick.” However, the bar was raised for 2016, and more than 20 recipients of the 2015 “Top Safety Pick” award and four Plus-award winners don’t qualify under the toughened criteria. Lack of an available front crash-prevention system is the issue with several models with “Good” small overlap ratings.

“Consumers who purchased a winning 2015 model that doesn’t qualify this year needn’t worry that their vehicles are now less safe,” Lund said. “As vehicles continue to improve, however, we think it’s important to recognize that progress and encourage further advances by making our ratings more stringent. This year’s winners are certainly safer than the vehicles that earned our first Top Safety Pick awards 10 years ago.”

The Scion iA, a “Top Safety Pick+” winner, is the first low-priced car with a standard autobrake system. With a base price of about $16,000, the iA is rated “Advanced” for front crash prevention and is the only minicar to earn a 2016 IIHS award. Besides the iA, autobrake is standard on just a few luxury models, but more automakers are expected to make that emerging safety feature standard equipment in the near future under a voluntary agreement being developed by automakers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the IIHS.

For a complete listing of 2016 IIHS "Top Safety Pick+" and "Top Safety Pick" winners, click here.
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