The IIHS Top Safety Pick determines the safest cars and SUVs by rating how the vehicles protect passengers in front, rear, side and now rollover crashes in Institute tests. Because research also shows that electronic stability control significantly reduces crash risk, winners must also possess it.
The 2009 list boasted a record 94 Top Safety winners, but the addition of the roof strength requirement whittled it down to 27 this year. To receive a “good” rating the vehicle’s roof had to be at least twice as strong as the current federal guidelines mandates. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates doubling the roof strength will reduce the risk of serious and fatal injury in single-vehicle rollovers by about 50%.
Subaru won five awards in 2010 and is the only vehicle to receive safest car honors in all four vehicle classes in which it competes. Ford, and its subsidiary Volvo, wins six times, the most safety pick awards of any manufacturer. Volkswagen/Audi has five winners, Chrysler earns four.
Since the IIHS started the Top Saftey Pick awards in 2005, this is the second time the standards have been tightened. In 2006, good rear crash test results and electronic stability control as standard or optional equipment were added to the list of criteria in selecting the safest vehicles.
The IIHS urges consumers to keep in mind the weight and size of a vehicle when determining the safest option. IIHS president Adrian Lund stated in a press release that larger, heavier vehicles typically afford better protection in serious crashes than smaller, lighter ones. He concluded that even with a Top Safety Pick, “a small car is not as crashworthy as a bigger one.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is supported by auto insurers as an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from crashes on the nation’s highways. Also See Subaru, VW top brands in survey of safest cars.
The complete list of the 2010 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick results are listed below:
Chevrolet Malibu built after October 2009
Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional electronic stability control
Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control
Mercedes C class
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Written by Sharalyn Hartwell