There were 22 vehicles that earned the top safety rating, whih is Top Safety Pick+, from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for 2014. This was due to their high levels of protection during crashes and for having front crash prevention technology. Another 17 vehicles earned Top Safety Pick for their performance in crashes.
The IIHS implemented new criteria for their 2014 awards. To earn a Top Safety Pick rating, a vehicle must perform well in the moderate overlap front, roof strength, side and head restraint tests. This must occur during the first test, and the vehicle must also perform acceptable or good during the small overlap front test. This was a newer form of test, which was introduced in 2012. In addition to a basic rating for front crash prevention, the same level of performance in those tests is required to earn the higher Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Experts said they made it tougher for auto manufacturers in 2014 to pass the tests. Although the front overlap test was not used as much before, it has now been incorporated as a standard in all test sets. They also decided to provide extra recognition to manufacturers offering proven crash avoidance technology. Since 2006, the IIHS has been awarding Top Safety Pick ratings and has toughened its criteria two times. To reward manufacturers for acceptable or good performance in the small overlap test, the Top Safety Pick+ award was introduced in 2013. For this specific test, 25 percent of a front end on the driver’s side must travel at 40 mph to hit a rigid barrier. The test simulates what happens when a vehicle’s front corner collides with an object or another vehicle.
To earn the Top Safety Pick+ award now, a manufacturer must make a vehicle that not only keeps passengers safe but also prevents or mitigates front-to-rear collisions through special systems. Front crash prevention incorporates automatic braking and warnings and is supposed to help drivers who are not alert to avoid hitting a stopped or slowing vehicle in front of them. These types of systems have been appearing more and more often throughout vehicle fleets. This means there are more Top Safety Pick+ winners than Top Safety Pick winners for 2014.
Experts say that consumers who want the latest in passenger protection and crash prevention technology have many more vehicles to consider than before. They hope that manufacturers will continue this trend of producing vehicles that earn the highest safety ratings. Ultimately, they hope to see these features become a standard for all manufacturers and all vehicles.
The winners of the Top Safety Pick+ award range from warning systems to auto-brake systems. One vehicle’s system avoided a crash at both 25 mph and 12 mph. However, many of the winners of this award only qualified if they were also equipped with the optional front crash prevention systems. This means they still met the regular Top Safety Pick award standards without them, but obviously performed much better with them.
Some of the winners for 2014 for the top safety award were not winners in 2013. Some examples include the Infiniti Q50, the Acura RLX, the Acura MDX, the Toyota Highlander and the Mazda 3. All of these models had been fully redesigned. There was also a new model called the Chevrolet Spark, which is a mini-car that won the regular Top Safety Pick award. To learn more about vehicles with top safety ratings and better insurance rates for safer vehicles, discuss concerns with an agent.