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

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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its latest list of the safest vehicles.

This year, 62 vehicle models earned the institute's top safety pick award.

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.

Of the hundreds of auto models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions.

"We're pleased to have so many vehicles recognized by IIHS, especially with the completely redesigned 2018 Camry receiving its highest safety award", said Chris Nielsen, executive vice president of product support and chief quality officer of Toyota Motor North America. It was this test that caused the significant drop in the number of vehicles earning the top rating.

To qualify for either award, vehicles must earn the a good rating in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations, as well as earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

"That company had six Top Safety Pick+ winners there", Lund said. The sole Subaru model that did not qualify was the BRZ. With 15 of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection. Automakers have pledged to make it a standard feature by 2022.

The Institute's headlight ratings also are relatively new, with the first ones released in March 2016. The track tests, which measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other.

Here is a link to all the top safety picks, which includes the reasons why they were chosen. Over the years, IIHS has added to and strengthened criteria for both awards, pushing automakers to speed up safety advances.