Science

Only 15 vehicles meet tougher criteria for 2018 IIHS top safety rating

Only 15 vehicles meet tougher criteria for 2018 IIHS top safety rating

Hyundai, its partner Kia and its Genesis division are the big winners in the latest vehicle safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, accounting for six of the 15 models that earned the Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2018. And this year the IIHS is making the criteria more hard for automakers to earn a top grade.

The organization has long used crash tests as a key element for rating vehicles, including hits to the front driver's side, but this year the institute added a new test: crashes to the front on the passenger side.

15 vehicles earned the group's highest award of top safety pick plus.

"Fifteen vehicles meeting these new tougher criteria for top safety pick plus is a good news story for consumers", said Lund.

Vehicles that come with autobraking also earn high marks.

"We developed this test when it became clear that some manufacturers were not paying attention to the passenger side", said Adrian Lund, IIHS president.

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No minivans or pickup trucks received a Top Safety Pick Plus award.

The Institute's headlight ratings also are relatively new, with the first ones released in March 2016.

The 2018 list of the safest vehicles is out, and just 15 earned the highest rating, down from 69 previous year. The sole Subaru model that did not qualify was the BRZ.

Across manufacturers, the vast majority of winners qualify only when optionally equipped because front crash prevention and acceptable or good headlights aren't part of their base trims. In order to meet the top ranking, and in some instances, simply being a "Top Pick", the vehicle must be upgraded.

Headlights that effectively light up the road are another area where the IIHS has raised its standards.

While automakers are claiming that kind of technology will be standard equipment in the near future, it won't be in all cases so if you are driving one of the "Top Pick Plus" vehicles, you may be simply driving its lower-priced, and lower rated, sibling instead. If the pattern holds, they'll have to score a good rating next year to make the 2019 list.


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