Arlington, Virginia – Sixty-six 2011 vehicles have earned the Top Safety Pick award from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including 40 cars, 25 SUVs and one minivan. The designation recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting passengers in front, side, rollover and rear crashes in IIHS tests, and have available electronic stability control.
IIHS said that the ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than U.S. federal safety standards require.
Last year, the Institute toughened the criteria for Top Safety Pick by adding a requirement that vehicles must earn a good rating for performance in a roof strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. This narrowed the list of 2010 winners to 27 vehicles that qualified, but the number grew to 58 as auto manufacturers reworked existing designs and introduced new models.
Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi each have nine winners for 2011, followed by General Motors, Ford/Lincoln, and Toyota/Lexus/Scion with eight each. Subaru, which earned five awards for 2011, is the only manufacturer with a winner in all the vehicle classes in which it competes.
The redesigned Volkswagen Touareg is the only large SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick for 2011. The IIHS normally does not evaluate SUVs this large, but Volkswagen requested crash tests to determine the vehicle’s crashworthiness.
None of the small pickup trucks the Institute has evaluated qualified for this year’s award, and large pickup trucks have not yet been tested.
The 2011 winners are:
BMW 5 Series (Except AWD and V8)
Cadillac CTS Sedan
Infiniti M37/M56 (Except M56x)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
Audi A4 Sedan
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (named Golf Wagon in Canada)
Honda Civic Four-Door (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Forte Sedan
Mitsubishi Lancer Sedan (except AWD)
Subaru Impreza Sedan and Hatchback (except WRX)
Volkswagen GTI Four-Door
Ford Fiesta Sedan and Hatchback (built after July 2010)
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento (built after March 2010)
Honda Element (not sold in Canada for 2011)
Jeep Patriot (with optional side torso airbags)