Automakers love to trumpet the accolades from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the agency keeps making its best grades harder to achieve. For 2020, it is raising the bar again, requiring a better score in the passenger-side small-overlap crash test, wider availability of top-performing headlights, and automatic emergency braking systems that effectively avoid collisions with pedestrians, in addition to its previous benchmarks.

Why the 2020 criteria is harder: To be named either a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+, the required performance in the passenger-side small-overlap crash test has been raised from Acceptable to Good, meaning that the model must achieve Good ratings in all crash tests. The Nissan Rogue, for example, scored an Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap crash, and so it loses its Top Safety Pick rating for 2020.

To achieve either of the top ratings, a vehicle's automatic emergency braking system must effectively avoid hitting pedestrians as well as other vehicles. (The automatic emergency braking system can be optional, but then the award applies to the model only when so equipped.) Any vehicle whose automatic emergency braking system does not include pedestrian detection would lose its TSP or TSP+ rating for 2020, the Ram 1500 being one example.

To be named a Top Safety Pick+, the model can have no variant with headlights that achieve less than an Acceptable rating (most new cars have different headlights — often LEDs — that are exclusive to upper trim levels).

With that, here are the models that achieve Top Safety Pick+:

 

The vehicles below are rated as a Top Safety Pick (no Plus):

  • Audi A7
  • Audi Q8
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Ford Edge
  • Ford Escape
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic coupe, sedan, hatchback (except Type R)
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Elantra, Elantra GT(with automatic emergency braking)
  • Hyundai Kona (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Hyundai Veloster (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Kia Forte (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Kia Sorrento (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Kia Soul (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Kia Sportage
  • Kia Stinger (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Kia Telluride
  • Lexus RX
  • Lexus UX
  • Lincoln Corsair
  • Mazda CX-9 (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Nissan Altima (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Subaru Crosstrek (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Subaru Impreza, WRX (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Toyota Corolla sedan, hatchback (with automatic emergency braking)
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo XC40

One last thing to note: IIHS is not done testing 2020 models, so this list is likely to grow as more vehicles are tested. For 2019, the agencies group of top-scoring cars and trucks roughly doubled over the course of the year. We'll report additional winners as more vehicles are tested.

 

 


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