Wednesday, November 18, 2009

27 Vehicles Earn Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick

Nineteen cars and eight SUVs earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award for 2010. For the first time, good performance in a roof strength test to measure protection in a rollover is required to win. Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear, and now rollover crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have electronic stability control.

Ford and its Volvo subsidiary have six winners: Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, Volvo S80, C30, XC60 and XC90.

Subaru, the only manufacturer with a winner in all four vehicle classes in which it competes, took five awards: Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Forester and Tribeca all earn Top Safety Pick.

Volkswagen/Audi has five: Audi A3, VW Jetta, Passat, Golf and Tiguan.

Chrysler earns four awards: Chrysler Sebring four-door with optional electronic stability control, Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control, Dodge Journey and Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags.

Honda had two: the Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control and the Honda Element.

GM had two: Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu built after October 2009.

Two new small cars, the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul, join the Top Safety Pick list for 2010 making three boxy-style vehicles earning the distinction Mercedes-Benz C Class sedan was also among the 27 qualifiers.

Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners but were shut out for 2010. Four other manufacturers whose vehicles have earned Top Safety Pick in the past didn't have a qualifying vehicle for 2010: BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Saab.

The hot-selling Honda Accord and Ford Fusion didn't earn the required good roof strength rating to qualify while the Toyota Camry's seats and head restraints are rated marginal for protection against whiplash injury.