May 21, 2024


There are a lot of factors people need to consider when buying a new car, from financing to insurance rates to fuel efficiency. But, for many people, safety is one of their top concerns.

That’s where the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) comes in; the auto safety nonprofit has released the latest edition of its annual “Top Safety Pick” awards, which rewards automakers for helping keep consumers safe.

“This year’s winners are true standouts, offering the highest level of protection for both vehicle occupants and other vulnerable road users,” David Harkey, the president of the IIHS, said in a statement.

The IIHS recently revised its criteria to require better protection for rear-seat passengers and pedestrian safety features. One of the most significant changes to its criteria was replacing its original side crash test with an updated version featuring a heavier barrier moving faster to simulate a high-speed crash.

Ultimately, the institute handed out awards to 71 vehicles this year, up from 65 in the nonprofit’s 2023 ranking. Only 22 of those models won the highest “Top Safety Pick+” award, while the other 49 won the “Top Safety Pick” award.

Notably, the different classes of SUVs — small, midsize, and midsize luxury — were tied for the most Top Safety Pick+ awards, with five apiece; midsize luxury SUVs won 12 of the second-class awards, the most overall. The Tesla Model Y, Rivian R1, and Ford Motor’s Explorer — the only model that earned an award for Ford — were some of the SUVs that the institute recognized.

On the other hand, few cars, pickup trucks, and minivans qualified for the awards.

“The high number of SUVs that earn awards probably reflects the dominance of those vehicles in the U.S. market,” said Harkey. “But it’s disappointing that only four pickups and four midsize cars earn awards, considering the popularity of those classes.”

Hyundai Motor Group — the parent company of the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands — won the most overall awards, with six of its models winning the highest and another 10 being granted the second-place award. That includes the Palisade and Kona SUVs, Elantra sedan, and Ioniq 5 electric SUV.

Toyota Motor — which sells Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles in the U.S. — won 13 awards, including one Top Safety Pick+. Some of the carmaker’s safest vehicles are the best-selling Camry mid-size car, the Prius compact car, and the Lexus UX and RZ SUVs.

Mazda won five first-class awards from the IIHS, the most of any single brand, according to the nonprofit. The institute recognized the carmaker’s Mazda 3 hatchback and Mazda 3 sedan, plus three SUVs — the CX-30, CX-50, and CX-90.

Mazda’s head of North American operations, Tom Donnelly, praised the IIHS’s work, noting that the organization challenges automakers to prioritize passenger safety and engineer vehicles “in the pursuit of a crash-free society.”



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