New report: The 15 safest cars and SUVs for 2018


Only 15 vehicles received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top safety award after stricter requirements were put in place for 2018.

The organization has just released two annual lists: Top Safety Pick Plus and Top Safety Pick.

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To qualify for Top Safety Pick Plus — the highest honor — vehicles must now have good headlight ratings and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes.

The Top Safety Pick Plus winners include 12 cars and 3 SUVs, but no minivans or pickups earned the highest award.

In addition, another 47 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick — the second-tier honor — which now requires acceptable or good headlights. 

Here’s the criteria for each award, followed by a list of the winners:

  • Good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests
  • Acceptable or Good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test
  • Advanced or Superior rating for front crash prevention
  • Good headlight rating
  • Good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests
  • Advanced or Superior rating for front crash prevention
  • Acceptable or Good headlight rating

One important note: The “vast majority” of winners qualify only when optionally equipped because front crash prevention and acceptable or good headlights aren’t part of their base trims, IIHS said.

The organization releases ratings as it evaluates new models, so check IIHS.org to see an updated list of winners.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been recognizing vehicles with the Top Safety Pick designation since the 2006 model year and added Top Safety Pick Plus in the 2013 model year.

IIHS said it has repeatedly strengthened criteria for both awards to push automakers to speed up safety advances.

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