Cars Are Getting Safer, 34 Vehicles Are "Top Safety Picks"

Cars are getting safer says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the ever-increasing “top safety pick” list is “dominated” by foreign cars according to the Detroit Free Press:

The IIHS said 34 vehicles earned the designation this year, up from 13 last year. To win the award, a model has to perform well in the institute’s front and side crash tests, come with electronic stability control and offer protection from whiplash injuries.
The institute’s tests are tougher than those run by the federal government, and automakers often make changes in the vehicles and pay the institute to re-run its tests to garner better scores for advertising. General Motors Corp. altered the side air bags in its 2008 Saturn Vue to earn a top pick after they failed to deploy correctly in the first test.

Another 23 models passed all of the institute’s tests save for its whiplash prevention standard. While whiplash cases are often minor, the institute has made whiplash a priority because it’s the most commonly reported injury from car crashes, costing insurers about $8.5 billion a year. Some automakers have been slow to adopt models to the IIHS standard, which requires changes to seats and head rests.

For the first time ever, a pickup truck, the Toyota Tundra, won a “top safety pick,” from the institute.

Here is the full list of winners:

Large cars
Audi A6
Ford Taurus with optional electronic stability control
Mercury Sable with optional electronic stability control
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Audi A3, A4
Honda Accord
Saab 9-3
Subaru Legacy with optional electronic stability control

Midsize convertibles
Saab 9-3
Volvo C70

Small car
Subaru Impreza with optional electronic stability control

Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Entourage
Kia Sedona

Midsize SUVs
Acura MDX, RDX
BMW X3, X5
Ford Edge, Taurus X
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Veracruz built after August 2007
Lincoln MKX
Mercedes M class
Saturn VUE built after December 2007
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota Highlander
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs

Honda CR-V, Element
Subaru Forester with optional electronic stability control

Large pickup
Toyota Tundra

2008 winners of Top Safety Pick award [IIHS]

More vehicles tops in safety [Detroit Free Press]

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