Hyundai, Kia, Genesis and Subaru clean up in IIHS 2018 safety ratings

IIHS beefs up criteria for headlights and passenger-side small overlap front crash protection.

Hyundai, its partner Kia and its Genesis division are the big winners in the latest vehicle safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, accounting for six of the 15 models that earned the Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2018. Subaru was right behind with four, Mercedes-Benz had two, and Toyota, BMW and Ford each had one.

Another 47 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick designation, where Toyota had 10 vehicle models, with Hyundai recognized for nine models. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru's lineup, the BRZ, qualified for one of the awards.

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. It also required vehicles to have acceptable or good headlights for the first time to earn a Top Safety Pick award. Most of winners for both awards qualified on the basis of optional upgrades.

IIHS in October began evaluating the passenger side of vehicles in its small overlap front crash test after it said it became clear that automakers were neglecting that side of the vehicle as they focused on improving driver-side protections. IIHS first began conducting driver-side small overlap crashes in 2012. It began measuring both how well low and high beams illuminated the road and the amount of glare they produce for oncoming vehicles as part of its ratings in 2016.

The Top Safety Pick+ winners are listed below. The list doesn't include any minivans, pickups or minicars, which don't appear on either list of awardees.

Small cars

Midsize cars

Large luxury cars

Midsize SUVs

Midsize luxury SUV

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