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:

Large Cars:
Buick LaCrosse
Buick Regal
BMW 5 Series (Except AWD and V8)
Cadillac CTS Sedan
Ford Taurus
Hyundai Genesis
Infiniti M37/M56 (Except M56x)
Lincoln MKS
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
Toyota Avalon
Volvo S80

Midsize Cars:
Audi A3
Audi A4 Sedan
Chevrolet Malibu
Chrysler 200
Dodge Avenger
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Lincoln MKZ
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen (named Golf Wagon in Canada)
Volvo C30

Small Cars:
Chevrolet Cruze
Honda Civic Four-Door (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Forte Sedan
Kia Soul
Mitsubishi Lancer Sedan (except AWD)
Nissan Cube
Scion tC
Scion xB
Subaru Impreza Sedan and Hatchback (except WRX)
Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen GTI Four-Door

Ford Fiesta Sedan and Hatchback (built after July 2010)

Toyota Sienna

Large SUV:
Volkswagen Touareg

Midsize SUVs:
Audi Q5
Cadillac SRX
Chevrolet Equinox
Dodge Journey
Ford Explorer
Ford Flex
GMC Terrain
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento (built after March 2010)
Lexus RX
Lincoln MKT
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Venza
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs:
Honda Element (not sold in Canada for 2011)
Hyundai Tucson
Jeep Patriot (with optional side torso airbags)
Kia Sportage
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

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