IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Vehicles for 2013 Include 1 Diesel

By Paul Riegler on 23 December 2012
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Suzuki Kizashi (left) and Toyota Prius v

Suzuki Kizashi (left) and Toyota Prius v

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit that focuses on highway safety and conducts crash tests of cars sold in the United States, announced that 13 cars, including one diesel-powered model, had qualified as a Top Safety Pick+.  The diesel is the Volkswagen Passat. The other models include the Acura TL, Chrysler 200 (four-door), Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (both two-door and four-door models), Kia Optima, Nissan Altima (four-door), Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi, and Volvo S60.

The new Top Safety Pick+ designation is bestowed on vehicles that have done well in the organization’s new frontal crash test, the small overlap test.  This is in addition to the Top Safety Pick designation, which goes to vehicles that get Good or higher ratings in the less severe moderate overlap frontal test, side impact test, rollover test, and rear crash test.

Some cars that did poorly in the new test, including the Toyota Camry and Toyota Prius v, are still Top Safety Picks.  The Camry and Prius v were the only cars in a group of 18 to receive a poor rating in the small overlap test, which replicates what takes place when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle (or object) at 40 mph.

The IIHS has conducted the small overlap test on two groups of cars so far.  In the first test, conducted on luxury cars, only three out of 11 received a rating of Good or Acceptable.  In the second, more recent, test of more moderately priced cars, 13 of 18 did as well.