Fewer Winners as Insurance Institute Crowns Crash-Tested Cars

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released an exclusive list of its top-performers in vehicle crash tests. And this VIP list is a whole lot shorter than usual.

A total of 22 vehicles were crowned with the IIHS’ highest Top Safety Pick+ award in the crop of 2014 winners, meaning those car models likely performed well in the Institute’s newest tests of frontal crash safety. In addition, 17 models were awarded Top Safety Picks this year, an award with less distinction.

Last year, the IIHS awarded Top Safety Pick+ to 13 models and the Top Safety Pick to 117 models. Automakers typically use IIHS’ crash ratings in their sales pitches about the safety of new models.

“We’ve made it more difficult for manufacturers this year,” Adrian Lund, president of IIHS, said in a statement. “Following a gradual phase-in, the small overlap crash is now part of our basic battery of tests, and good or acceptable performance should be part of every vehicle’s safety credentials. We also felt it was time to offer extra recognition to manufacturers that are offering a proven crash avoidance technology.”

The Institute’s latest test take into account “small overlap” safety by recreating crashes that impact the car’s front corner with an object. Another recently introduced test evaluates vehicle technology that prevents frontal crashes.

The newest tests proved to be a higher hurdle than usual for a number of car types. In May, the Institute tested small sports utility vehicles and found that fewer achieved the highest grades possible. In late 2012, family vehicles beat out new-model luxury cars based on what the Institute said was its a battery of more “rigorous” crash tests.

In August 2012, shortly after the Institute introduced the small-overlap test, a meager 2 of 11 2012 midsize model vehicles were awarded the IIHS’ highest rating at the time.

The IIHS recently said that its newest crop of award winners contain the highest-performing models in vehicle safety that “only protect their occupants in a crash but also have systems that can prevent or mitigate front-to-rear crashes.”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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