Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Releases Latest List of Safest Vehicles

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its list of the safest vehicles.

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.

This year, vehicles must receive a good or acceptable rating passenger-side protection in the small overlap front crash test to get the institute's highest ranking.

Of the hundreds of vehicle models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions.

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The IIHS gave the award to only 15 vehicles, compared to 69 past year. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru's 2018 lineup earn one of the awards. The institute said it devised a passenger-side small overlap front crash test because some manufacturers weren't paying enough attention to the issue.

"Most drivers when they buy a vehicle they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are".

"That company had six Top Safety Pick+ winners there", Lund said.

The Institute's headlight ratings also are relatively new, with the first ones being released in March 2016.

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The models that earned the top ranking for 2018 so far are the BMW 5 Series, Kia Forte sedan, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, Lincoln Continental, Kia Soul, Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Subaru WRX, and Toyota Camry, according to Consumer Reports. The Crosstrek and the Forester earn TOP SAFETY PICK, also with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights. Kia and Subaru models were among the highest rated; no minivans, pickups or mini-cars made the cut. In order to meet the top ranking, and in some instances, simply being a "Top Pick", the vehicle must be upgraded. Automakers have pledged to make it a standard feature by 2022.

As more 2018 models are tested, IIHS will expand the list.

"The improvements in occupant protection have been unbelievable over the past decades", he said in a statement.

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