Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

Two vehicle manufacturers-Hyundai and Subaru-garnered the lion's share of the highest-level safety awards for 2018 presented by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Another 47 vehicles earned the next-tier Top Safety Pick award with Toyota producing the most vehicles on that list, followed by Hyundai with nine.

Despite safer vehicles, there was a 5.6 percent uptick in USA auto crash deaths in 2016, the second consecutive year numbers were higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Most of the Top Safety Pick Plus Awards went to Hyundai Motor Company with 6 awards and Subaru with four. As a whole, foreign models edged out American models for safety.

"We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side, but we weren't seeing that kind of improvement for passengers, said IIHS president Adrian Lund". In order to qualify, model-year 2018 vehicles now need to have good-rated headlights and get a good or acceptable rating in IIHS' newest evaluation, the passenger-side small overlap front crash test. It was this test that caused the significant drop in the number of vehicles earning the top rating. "Manufacturers have been taking this issue seriously since we first shed light on it, and we're confident that good small overlap protection will become the norm on the passenger side, just as it has on the driver side".

IIHS is placing more emphasis on the impact of headlights on the safety rating of new vehicles. The vehicles must also meet the previous requirements of scoring good in other crash tests and earning an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

"All automakers have pledged to make auto braking standard equipment on their vehicles by 2022", said Lund. Fifteen of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection.

  • Kyle Peterson