The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.

To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category – unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.

Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.

Scroll down below for the full IIHS press release, and some more information about the methodology behind the institute's new Top Safety Pick+ testing.
Show full PR text
IIHS Names Safest Cars For 2013

New TOP SAFETY PICK+ award goes to 13 cars; 117 additional vehicles earn TOP SAFETY PICK

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To reward 2013 models with superior crash protection, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is awarding its new Top Safety Pick+ accolade to 13 cars. All earn good or acceptable ratings in the new IIHS small overlap test as well as top marks in other IIHS evaluations.

Winners include the Acura TL; Dodge Avenger and its twin, the Chrysler 200 4-door; Ford Fusion; Honda Accord 2-door; Honda Accord 4-door; Kia Optima; Nissan Altima 4-door; Subaru Legacy and its twin, the Subaru Outback; Suzuki Kizashi; Volkswagen Passat and Volvo S60. The Acura TL and Volvo S60 are midsize luxury cars. The other models are midsize moderately priced cars.

"Of the 29 models evaluated so far in our small overlap frontal crash test, these 13 cars offer the highest level of all-around crash protection," says Adrian Lund, IIHS president. "We're pleased to recognize them with our new Top Safety Pick+ award for 2013."

List of safest cars for 2013

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in a moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, side impact and rollover, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. Top Safety Pick+ winners must earn good ratings for occupant protection in at least 4 of 5 evaluations, with no less than acceptable in the fifth test.

For 2013, 117 additional vehicles earn Top Safety Pick. To qualify for Top Safety Pick vehicles must have good ratings for occupant protection in the moderate overlap frontal test, side impact, rollover and rear tests, regardless of their small overlap rating.

"Models that earn Top Safety Pick also offer outstanding protection in many crashes," Lund says. "These vehicles are much safer choices than most vehicles on the market just five years ago."

IIHS introduced the small overlap test in 2012 to further improve occupant protection in frontal crashes. Luxury/near luxury midsize cars were the first group of vehicles evaluated, followed by midsize moderately priced cars. IIHS will announce additional Top Safety Pick+ winners as it continues to test models. Results for small SUVs are expected in the spring.

The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a car's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. A Hybrid III dummy representing a 50th percentile male is belted in the driver seat.

Most automakers design their vehicles for good performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal test and the federal government's full-width frontal test, but many haven't addressed the problem of small overlap crashes. In a 2009 IIHS study of vehicles with good ratings for frontal crash protection, small overlap crashes accounted for nearly a quarter of the frontal crashes involving serious or fatal injury to front seat occupants.

IIHS gives manufacturers advance notice of planned changes. Automakers in the past have been quick to factor new IIHS evaluations into their designs, and many are on track to do the same with the introduction of the small overlap test and Top Safety Pick+.

"We've seen automakers make structural and restraint changes in response to our small overlap test," Lund says. "Five manufacturers redesigned their midsize cars to enhance small overlap crash protection."

Honda engineered both versions of the Accord to do well in the test. Ford and Nissan made running structural changes to 2013 models already in production. Subaru and Volkswagen changed airbag control modules on the production line so side curtain airbags would deploy for improved head protection.

IIHS first gave the Top Safety Pick award to 2006 models and has tightened criteria twice since then. Good rear test results and availability of electronic stability control became a requirement starting with 2007 models, and a good roof strength rating became a deciding factor for the 2010 model year. Stability control is no longer a distinguishing criterion since the feature is standard under federal rules for 2012 and later models.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      Gregory
      • 1 Year Ago
      OK, be fair and test the rest of the untested.
      luigi.tony
      • 1 Year Ago
      This just confirms that ACE body structure Honda/Acura touted many years ago is working.
      luigi.tony
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://corporate.honda.com/safety/details.aspx?id=collision
      holysmoke.s
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Prius V results are scary.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        "This new test never really happens in real-life, or else they would've been testing for it twenty years ago." 100% false. It happens in 25% of all front end collisions. Nice try there, Toyota salesman. Seriously, NO ONE likes you on any of the forums/sites you post on. Just go away.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          [blocked]
          Cory Stansbury
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          Volvo was doing it 20 years ago.
        MAX
        • 1 Year Ago
        You can tell TRDyota did poorly when BDO starts spinning.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MAX
          [blocked]
          gnvlscdt23f
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MAX
          Bull crap Toyota has led. Go to the IIHS site and look at the past winners lists. Important cars like the Camry didn't make the list because Toyota refused to update head restraints or roofs. Then look at the loss statistics. Camry is way higher than average for personal injury and medical payments. Corolla isn't among the worst for small, but is up there. IS 250 is 2nd highest for both among vehicles for which there is data. Toyota is hardly a bastion of safety in the real world or in the test lab. Also, the IIHS hasn't done every test it does now forever, yet the proof is in the great reductions in deaths. When some cars starting having more deaths in side collisions than in frontal ones, the IIHS moved on the the next most productive tests. Same here. Does NOT in any way mean the tests aren't valid and nothing you've said so far in any way proves that.
        MJC
        • 1 Year Ago
        You really need to get past this. The Camry failed miserably at a test that the Accord passed with flying colors. That is the fact, anything else you say is drivel.
        Ross
        • 1 Year Ago
        Is that like rollovers never happen and so where added only a few years ago to crash testing? You're mad Toyota didn't get any TPS+ awards.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ross
          [blocked]
        none ya beeeees
        • 1 Year Ago
        Most people don't steer into a head-on crash when they see an oncoming car in their lane, so a lot of crashes end up being the "small-overlap" type crashes. back when the offset crash test was first implemented, the only other frontal crash test being performed as the NHTSA's test that crashed cars head on into a concrete wall. back then, the IIHS's test was so revolutionary that most cars didn't pass the 40% offset crash, and definitely would not pass a small overlap test. the original offset test has improved safety for everyone, but now that more manufacturers are building their vehicles to the test, more and more cars were earning TSP status. to further differentiate the cars (and to stay relevant, of course) they came up with the small overlap test and the TSP+ designation.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @none ya beeeees
          [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
      AGSHOP
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hmmm sorry Camry. I'm going with the Accord. Decision Final!
        Dane Grant
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AGSHOP
        I read that the Camry was the most unsafe vehicle of 2013...
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AGSHOP
        [blocked]
        MJC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AGSHOP
        If only the other 240K morons who buy Camrys would do the same, the world would be a better place....
      carguy1701
      • 1 Year Ago
      >listening to an insurance industry mouthpiece Shiggy diggy doo, wheer are you.
      Duck
      • 1 Year Ago
      "To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles" Well, that's retarded, how can one draw any conclusion if the list is not comprehensive? Implies that the vehicles on the list are superior to those that are not, and visa versa, when only some vehicles were tested. You might think, well, the Mustang GT I guess isn't very safe, when in fact it simply wasn't tested.
      polizzi82
      • 1 Year Ago
      You spelled "boring" wrong
      carboy55
      • 1 Year Ago
      It says a lot about the American buying public that the Toyota brand builds the most boring, most recalled and least safe vehicles on earth, yet their reputation in the marketplace is still sterling. They just paid off a pending lawsuit and those who don't care about cars buy them off the lots without even shopping.
        Bruce Lee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carboy55
        Least safe? It's still an IIHS top safety pick, it just doesn't pass the new small overlap test, but neither does the Audi A4 or Mercedes Benz C Class (which both got the exact same score as the Camry and Prius). Give me a break, are all the older cars on the road unsafe just because there's a new crash test now? Idiotic logic.
        MJC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carboy55
        So true. Not to mention that Toyota also has dated powertrains, some of the lowest quality interiors in the industry, and terrible suspension tuning.
      Indubitably
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not really related to this article, but after all these years the Kizashi STILL looks amazing. SO sad to it go.
      ROSALINDA
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love my 2003 BUICK......AND I feel safe, not so in other cars that I have been a passenger
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