Ten 2006 model vehicles have been given the first ever Top Safety Pick awards by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The winners were chosen in the categories of small, midsize and large cars plus minivans. These vehicles did well in tests by the institute that judge how well a car's design protects its occupants in front, side and rear crashes. Of the four categories, three have winners while no minivans scored high enough to earn an award.
The IIHS had notified all automakers about the Top Safety Pick awards and the criteria the institute would be using. The body even offered to pre-test any vehicles so manufacturers could address potential problems, and a few took them up on that offer. Conspicuously absent from the list is Volvo, Toyota and Mercedes Benz and BMW. Better luck next year, guys!

Read more about the test procedures and the winners here at the IIHS website.

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