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IIHS Says Cars Are Safer than Ever

If safety is one of your major concerns - and it should be - 2016 will be a great year to buy a new car. Preferably a Toyota. The Japanese automaker scooped up 9 Top Safety Pick+ awards out of a total of 61 distinctions handed out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
2016 Fiat 500X small overlap test 1 photo
IIHS says cars are safer than ever and is happy with how manufacturers have responded to tougher crash tests, like the small overlap front test. Car models were redesigned or updated to meet new criteria and now come with better frontal protection and autobrake features. The IIHS only awards its highest accolade to cars that have front crash prevention systems, at least as an option.

In addition to the above mentioned criteria, to qualify for a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ distinction, vehicles have to achieve good ratings in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

"Toyota leads the way among all manufacturers. [...] Other standouts include Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen/Audi, and Volvo," says IIHS president Adrian Lund. The 2016 Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen Passat were among the most improved models, with the Japanese car scoring better in occupant protection in rear crashes and rollovers.

What's surprising is that there's only one U.S. manufacturer to grab a Top Safety Pick+ award: Chrysler, for the 200 model. Just as surprising is that Ford's only model to receive an accolade was the F-150 SuperCrew, which received the Top Safety Pick distinction. Speaking of the SuperCrew, Adrian Lund says that "larger, heavier vehicles offer the best protection in a crash." Sure, we all know that, but is the IIHS more or less recommending we should all drive trucks and SUVs?

The new criteria and tougher tests proved too much of a challenge for some. 2015 winners like the Toyota Highlander and Toyota Sienna received less-than-good ratings in the small overlap front tests and didn't make the cut for a 2016 award. The Audi Q3, 2015 Top Safety Pick winner, wasn't even taken into account this year since it doesn't have front crash prevention. Not even as an option? Tsk-tsk, Audi!

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