Twenty-two vehicles have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest safety award for 2014, Top Safety Pick+. The rating is earned with a high level of protection in crashes and the availability of front crash prevention technology to avoid many collisions in the first place, said Russ Rader, senior vice president, Communications, for IIHS.
Among the vehicles honored in the Top Safety Pick+ were the Ford Fusion, in the midsize moderately priced category; and the Lincoln MKZ, in the midsize luxury/ near-luxury category. Other winners were the Chevy Spark, in the minicar category; the Dodge Dart and the Ford Focus, in the small car category; and the Chrysler 200 four-door and the Dodge Avenger, in the midsize moderately priced car category.
An additional 17 vehicles earn Top Safety Pick by meeting the crashworthiness criteria alone. IIHS is using new criteria for the awards this year, Rader said. Top Safety Pick requires good performance in the Institute’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and, for the first time, good or acceptable performance in the small overlap front test introduced in 2012.
The same level of performance in those tests, along with at least a basic rating for front crash prevention, is required for the higher accolade, Top Safety Pick+. “We’ve made it more difficult for manufacturers this year,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Following a gradual phase-in, the small overlap crash is now part of our basic battery of tests, and good or acceptable performance should be part of every vehicle’s safety credentials. “We also felt it was time to offer extra recognition to manufacturers that are offering a proven crash avoidance technology.”
“Consumers who want both crash prevention technology and the latest in occupant protection have a fair number of vehicles to choose from,” Lund said. “We hope manufacturers will continue to incorporate front crash prevention, developing more robust systems and adding them to more trim levels or, better yet, making them standard equipment.”
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