The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded two vehicles Top Safety Pick awards. After testing eight mid-size to large sedans, the IIHS has called out the 2011-12 Volkswagen CC and 2011 Saab 9-5 for its highest award. Both vehicles earned "good" ratings for front, side, rear and rollover protection during testing. It should be noted, however, that only the front-wheel-drive VW CC gets the Top Safety nod, as the all-wheel-drive version only received an "acceptable" rating in rollover testing.
The IIHS also tested Lexus IS, Lexus ES, Infiniti G, Chevrolet Impala, BMW 3 Series and Saab 9-3. The rest of the vehicles had score ratings ranging from good to acceptable, but it was the Saab 9-5 and Volkswagen CC (FWD) that walked away with a clean sweep in all tests. Check out the brief press release after the break.
The Saab 9-5, a large luxury car, and the Volkswagen CC, a midsize luxury car, are TOP SAFETY PICK award winners after earning good ratings for performance in the Institute's roof strength test for rollover protection. These cars earlier earned good ratings for front, side, and rear crash protection, and they have standard electronic stability control. TOP SAFETY PICK only applies to the front-wheel drive CC because the heavier all-wheel drive version is rated acceptable in the roof strength test.
Altogether, the Institute recently completed roof strength tests for eight midsize to large family and luxury cars. Also earning a good rating for rollover protection is the 2011 Lexus ES 350, which is not a TOP SAFETY PICK winner because it's rated marginal for rear crash protection. The BMW 3 series, Chevrolet Impala (models built after July 2010), Infiniti G, Lexus IS 250/350, and Saab 9-3 earn acceptable ratings for rollover protection.
To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes.