Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety says it's raising the bar for automakers, creating tougher test criteria to make sure vehicles can protect people in crashes and do more to help prevent crashes that can injure or kill.

IIHS strengthened the criteria for the Top Safety Pick+ award for 2018 to require headlights to earn a "good" rating - an "acceptable" rating was previously enough to notch the "plus" award - and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in the small overlap front crash, which replicates a crash involving just the front corner of a vehicle.

New for 2018, the passenger side small overlap crash was added to the evaluations and a vehicle must also receive a "Good" or "Acceptable" rating.

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Headlights also had to perform to standards in another new test in order to earn top ratings.

Forty-seven vehicles made the institute's second tier Top Safety Pick for 2018 after it added a requirement for good or acceptable headlights to qualify - down from 50 previous year. "We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side but we weren't seeing that kind of for passengers".

"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", IIHS President Adrian Lund said, according to Consumer Reports.

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Twelve cars and three SUVs earned the top rating, with another 47 models earning "Top Safety Pick" designations. The track tests, which measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other. For instance, automatic braking is a key requirement for the getting the "Top Pick Plus" rating, and in most vehicles, that comes at a significant price increase.

Automakers have pledged to make autobrake standard on virtually all passenger vehicles by 2022, but for now the technology remains mostly optional, especially on nonluxury brands.

The Institute releases ratings as it evaluates new models, adjusting the list of winners throughout the year.

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Overall, Hyundai posted six vehicles and Subaru four in the "Top Pick Plus" category.

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