IIHS Top Safety Pick and Pick+The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded its new Top Safety Pick Plus designation to 13 cars, all of which earn good or acceptable ratings in IIHS’s new small overlap test, plus top marks in all other IIHS evaluations, according to an IIHS press release.

The 13 cars are: the Acura TL, Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200 4-door, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord 2-door, Honda Accord 4-door, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima 4-door, Suburu Legacy, Suburu Outback, Suzuki Kizashi, Volkswagen Passat, and Volvo S60. IIHS notes that the Acura TL and the Volvo S60 are midsize luxury cars, and the other models are midsize moderately priced cars.

IIHS President Adrian Lund

IIHS President Adrian Lund.

Adrian Lund, IIHS president, said:

Of the 29 models evaluated so far in our small overlap frontal crash test, these 13 cars offer the highest level of all-around crash protection. We’re pleased to recognize them with our new Top Safety Pick+ award for 2013.

IIHS says that to qualify for the Top Safety Pick Plus rating, cars must earn good scores for occupant protection in at least four of five evaluations, and in the fifth one, the grade must be at least “acceptable,” Carscoop writes. Wayne Cunningham reports for CNET that IIHS has only subjected 29 cars to the new Small Overlap Frontal crash test, which is one of the required tests for the new Plus rating. Thus the pool of cars eligible for the new Plus rating was limited, and the only cars earning the Plus award were in the midsize sedan category, the segment where IIHS did the new test.

In addition to the Top Safety Pick Plus category, IIHS awarded its Top Safety Pick to 117 new cars, all of which have good ratings for occupant protection in the moderate overlap frontal test, side impact, rollover, and rear tests.

You can see the complete list of the IIHS award-winning 2013 cars here.

IIHS cautions people:

Don’t compare ratings across vehicle size groups because size and weight influence occupant protection in serious crashes. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Models that earn TOP SAFETY PICK+ or TOP SAFETY PICK are the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories, but this doesn’t mean a small car that’s a TOP SAFETY PICK+ or TOP SAFETY PICK affords more protection than a bigger car that doesn’t earn the award.

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