Herndon, Virginia – Nineteen cars and eight SUVs have earned the 2010 Top Safety Pick Award from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the first time that good performance in roof rollover strength becomes a requirement for winning.

The Top Safety Pick award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear and rollover crashes, and have electronic stability control. The addition of roof strength is the second time the IIHS has tightened criteria since announcing the first recipients in 2005.

Subaru was the only manufacturer with a winner in all four vehicles classes in which it competes, winning five awards for 2010. Ford and Volvo had six winners, and Volkswagen/Audi had five. Chrysler earned four awards, continuing a recent trend of improving the crashworthiness of its vehicles.

The IIHS noted that Toyota and Lexus had a strong showing in 2009 with eleven winners, but did not have any for 2010. Other manufacturers whose vehicles have earned Top Safety Pick in the past but did not have a qualifying vehicle in 2010 were BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Saab. The Honda Accord took Top Safety Pick in the last two years, but only earned an “acceptable” rating for its roof strength. The Ford Fusion was dropped off the list for the same reason.

The Toyota Camry would have qualified, but its seats and head restraints were rated “marginal” for protection against whiplash injury. The IIHS also identified a problem with the Volvo XC60 in the side test, when a piece of plastic trim on the driver’s seat pushed against the service release button for the safety belt, which then detached from its anchor during the test. “This would be a serious issue if it happened in a real crash, but it’s not likely to happen and it’s fixable,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund. “Still, belts shouldn’t come loose in a crash test. Volvo is fixing the problem so it won’t be an issue with XC60 models produced after November 2009. Top Safety Pick applies only to these modified XC60s.” Consumers who already own 2010 XC60 models should see their dealers for repair, Lund said.

The 2010 Top Safety Pick winners are:

Large Cars
Buick LaCrosse
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Volvo S80

Midsize Cars
Audi A3
Chevrolet Malibu (built after October 2009)
Chrysler Sebring (four-door with optional electronic stability control)
Dodge Avenger (with optional electronic stability control)
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen Passat
Volvo C30

Small Car
Honda Civic four-door (except Si)(with optional electronic stability control)
Kia Soul
Nissan Cube
Subaru Impreza (except WRX)
Volkswagen Golf (four-door)

Midsize SUVs
Dodge Journey
Subaru Tribeca
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs
Honda Element
Jeep Patriot (with optional side airbags)
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

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