IIHS Adds Four More Cars to Top Safety Picks List
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has added four more 2013 vehicles to its list of “Top Safety Picks”: the Dodge Dart, Hyundai’s crossover Santa Fe, the Lexus ES 350 midsize luxury sedan, and the Subaru XV Crosstrek hatchback, as Bernie Woodall writes in a Reuters article appearing in the Insurance Journal.
Jeffrey N. Ross reports for AutoBlog that these four vehicles were given top marks for crash safety in all applicable tests, which, Woodall writes, include front, side, and rear impacts, plus rollovers. Ross notes that none of these cars has been given IIHS’s new small-overlap front crash test, because the Institute has not begun any large-scale tests of that yet.
These four cars are now part of a “Top Safety Picks” list of 132 vehicles, out of 180 vehicles that have been tested, Woodall writes. The manufacturers of these vehicles — all introduced to the U.S. market within the last several months — requested that they be tested ahead of the normal IIHS schedule, according to IIHS spokesman Russ Rader, as Woodall reports. In December, the Institute will issue its annual list of the safety report for vehicles sold in the U.S. market, Woodall notes.
Proving how safe small cars now are, the Dart is one of 31 compact cars to grab a spot as a Top Safety Pick, being joined by XV Crosstrek. This is definitely good news for Subaru as, aside from the old-bodied Impreza WRX, its lineup of new products is on this list of safe vehicles.
While the new Santa Fe was named as a Top Safety Pick, it was actually the smaller Santa Fe Sport that was crash tested by Hyundai rather than the three-row model that now wears this name. Finally, both the hybrid (ES 300h) and non-hybrid versions of the new Lexus ES made the cut even though it is listed solely as the ES 350.
Woodall also writes that although 73% of the models IIHS tested last year received top safety ratings, next year’s tests will be more stringent:
The new front crash tests will evaluate a vehicle’s safety in a crash that impacts the front corners. This will be more demanding because most manufacturers create a structure for vehicles that can better absorb middle-front collisions.
In a recent test of 11 luxury midsize cars by using the new corner-front crash evaluation, only two models earned the top safety ranking, the IIHS said.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization, works to reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage from accidents on U.S. roads. Its research focuses on three main areas: preventing crashes by changing driver behavior; reducing deaths and injuries by improving vehicle design; and changing roadway design, signs, and signals to reduce crashes.