Insurance Institute for Highway Safety logoThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced five new vehicles it has awarded with its Top Safety Picks Plus title, as David Shepardson writes for The Detroit News. They include: The 2013 models of: Honda’s 2-door and 4-door Civic, Volvo’s XC60, Ford’s Lincoln MKZ; and the 2014 Mazda6.

The Safety Picks Plus title is an award for excellent performance in previous tests plus a newer test that simulates a severe front-end collision.

Angela Greiling Keane reports for Bloomberg that IIHS said it will release results of the small-overlap crash test for sport-utility vehicles some time this year. She also writes:

The insurance-industry funded group has said it introduced the test last year because that type of accident accounts for almost a fourth of frontal crashes that seriously injure or kill people in front seats. […]

The National Safety Council last month estimated that 2012 was the first year since 2005 in which the number of crash- related roadway deaths rose from the previous year. The group, based in Itasca, Illinois, said about 36,200 people died last year in motor vehicle-related crashes. That’s an increase of about 5 percent.

This Plus group includes the first small cars — the Honda Civic models — to receive a Top Safety Pick Plus award. The Civic models garnered the rating after Honda reinforced the cabin and added high-strength steel in order to get an improved rating on IIHS’s small overlap test, in which the front corner of a vehicle is crashed into a pole, tree, or car, Shepardson writes. He notes: “In the IIHS test, 25 percent of the car’s front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph.”

Volvo also made changes in order to score better on that test, and updated its airbag algorithm in order for the side curtain airbag to be triggered by such a front corner (“side overlap”) crash, writes Brittany Hillen for Slash Gear.

As this blog has reported, 13 other models were named to the elite Top Picks Plus group back in December. IIHS added its “Plus” designation to cover those vehicles that offer the highest levela of all-around crash protection, having scored “good” in at least four of five evaluations, and at least “acceptable” in the fifth one. Those 13 models last year were chosen from a group of only 29 cars that were given the Small Overlap Frontal crash test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries, and property damage — from auto accidents on the nation’s roads.

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