In an attempt to help push vehicle safety to a higher level, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety created a stricter Top Safety Pick+ rating last year, which incorporates a brutal small overlap test and requires cars to get Good ratings in four out of the five categories (and no less than Acceptable in the fifth). Joining the list of the safest cars of 2013, the 2013 Volvo XC60, Lincoln MKZ, Honda Civic (sedan and coupe) and the 2014 Mazda6 have all received the coveted TSP+ rating.

The Mazda6 and Lincoln MKZ have both been completely redesigned, and both received Acceptable ratings in the small overlap test. The Honda Civic, coming off its emergency refresh for 2013, is the first small car to be subjected to the small overlap test, and IIHS says that one of the car's many upgrades includes a stiffer front structure allowing it to receive Good ratings in all categories. Similarly, the XC60 gets all Good ratings thanks to, according to IIHS, Volvo updating the airbag software allowing the side airbags to inflate during the small overlap test.

The 2014 Subaru Forester has not yet been subjected to the small overlap test, so it must make do with just a Top Safety Pick rating until the IIHS tests small utility vehicles, which is expected to happen later in the spring.
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Five vehicles earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award

Five vehicles earn the Institute's top safety award based on their performance in the new small overlap front crash test.

The Honda Civic 2-door and 4-door, both small cars, and the Volvo XC60, a midsize luxury SUV, all earned good ratings for small overlap protection. The Lincoln MKZ, a midsize luxury car, and the Mazda 6, a midsize moderately priced car, both received an acceptable rating. All are 2013 models except the Mazda 6, which is redesigned for 2014.

The vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick+ award because they received good ratings in the Institute's moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear tests, plus good or acceptable ratings in the new small overlap test. The small overlap test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or object like a tree or utility pole.

The Honda Civic, the first small car to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award, received significant front structure upgrades to improve small overlap performance, and engineers at Volvo updated the airbag algorithm to deploy the side curtain airbag in the small overlap test.


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  • 31 Comments
      Karl T
      • 1 Year Ago
      One more positive step to the current Mazda6 becoming nothing but an ugly, nasty, costly mistake in Mazda's past.... Someone should be shxt-canned over the current POS.
        plarson79
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Karl T
        The new Mazda6 is beautiful. Don't know what you are talking about. It follows in the footsteps of the CX-5, which has been a major success. You obviously have not seen it in person, nor have you driven it. SMH
          S.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @plarson79
          You keep calling it a POS, but you have not provided any evidence that support your claims.
          Karl T
          • 1 Year Ago
          @plarson79
          Uh.... I clearly state the CURRENT Mazda6 is the POS. C-U-R-R-E-N-T The car mentioned in this article, the 2014 Mazda6 is not the CURRENT car - is NOT yet for sale - is NOT yet on the streets. The CURRENT Mazda6 is the ugly POS that came out in '09.
      vegasstyleguy
      • 1 Year Ago
      MKZ will be the safest car ever, None on the road = no accidents. C'mon Lincoln get it together!
      Big Squid
      • 1 Year Ago
      Know why the MKZ is a top safety pick? Because nobody would be caught dead in one.
        S.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Big Squid
        Don't quit your day job.
      AGSHOP
      • 1 Year Ago
      if u work on cars you know mazdas rust the most. Especially where you can't see it. Under the cowl where the windshield is glued to the bottom of the car.... I dont get why??? But every mazda rusts there but nobody can see it unless your a glass tech like me. That alone stops me for buying anything Mazda.
      mrpushrod1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Consumer Reports could care less about safety. Half the vehicles they strongly recommend (namely the Toyota brand) failed the IIHS partial overlap crash test which is one of the most popular deadly accidents.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mrpushrod1
        [blocked]
        S.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mrpushrod1
        COULD NOT care less. For cryin' out loud...
      K
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Honda Civic. Soul-crushingly boring and proud of it.
      bleexeo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Honda can thank Consumer Reports for sending the Civic pack to the drawing board so quickly and giving Honda a chance to build a car that can do well in the new safety tests. That should add a boatload of new customers and is great for their marketing.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      As I look at the MKZ, I say to myself, if the nose were just a little bit more blunt and square, the car would look pretty darn good, and then I realized, that's what the Fusion already has. If the MKZ had the frontend of the Fusion, it would have been a pretty damned striking car from end to end. As it stands, it looks good only from the A-pillar back.
      WheelMcCoy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Geez, now they get it right. Where were they in 2010 when I was looking for a new car? The 2013 Civic looks better, has a tweaked suspension that makes it a little more fun to drive, and is now safer than before. Actually, I couldn't be happier with my 2010 Mazda3 and wouldn't trade it for anything. But as a former Honda customer, I am glad to see them improving (Accord V6 Coupe anyone?) and wish them well.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @WheelMcCoy
        Mazda has the driver's car of each class, penalized by somewhat lagging interior design. The new 6 addresses that well enough, especially if you go for a 2-tone interior.
          thequebecerinfrance
          • 1 Year Ago
          @superchan7
          That 6 is a classy one. I really like Mazdas, they cater the old Honda customers, fun to drive is alive even in small cars.
        chromal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @WheelMcCoy
        I traded my 2010 Mazda3 s Sport for a 2012 Mazdaspeed3, but I can't think of many other replacements. :) This 'upgrade' isn't for everyone, of course.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
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      paul_savary
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should only deem the cars that pass this new overlap tests to be Top Safety Picks. When it is a title that is essentially awarded to every new car, it loses its meaning. How is it a "Top Safety Pick" if it did poorly in a certain test?
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      It would be nice to see the Civic - or anyone - dethrone the Corolla as top selling compact. It still amazes me how the Corolla has stayed number one given the old 4 speed auto, etc. I know Toyota includes Matrix sales with it, so that may help in the numbers game. But still, that car is ancient. Just goes to show that the bulk of compact car buyers are more of the "car as appliance" group than most.
        JonnyB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        It's because a bulk of Corolla/Matrix sales also includes fleet sales. Take that away and the Civic sells more. Honda will only pay the dealership back the funny money for up to 3 cars per transaction (how dealership really makes their money on new car sales). After the 4th car, the dealership gets nothing in return from Honda. So that's why you can still rent Honda's from smaller companies like Enterprise, but not Thrifty or Budget. I dunno how the 9th Gen is, but I know with the 8th Gen Civic's, if you had a manufacturer that sold only Civic's it would still be the 13th largest in the Nation in total volume.
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