The IIH’S Top Safety Picks for 2015

Are you looking for a new vehicle?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is one of two organizations responsible for testing current model vehicles in relation to crash testing and providing safety benchmarks for the auto industry. Their ratings have become more relevant as consumers are looking for vehicles with their well-branded “Top Safety Pick” (TSP) and “Top Safety Pick+” (TSP+) more than ever before.

Provided below is a full list of the 71 models so far listed as TSP and TSP+s, the overall best vehicle rating in the testing and an explanation of the rating system in use of IIHS.

Understanding the IIHS Ratings

Front Crash Prevention Ratings, 2013 or newer

Since 2013 and based on information and research from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) that confirmed forward collision warning and auto brake systems were helping drivers avoid low and moderate speed front impact crashes, the IIHS instituted the added ratings of the front crash prevention test.

The rating systems of these technologies are based on a three tier system of Basic, Advanced and Superior. A basic rating simply denotes that the model has a frontal collision warning system but no auto brake technology or an auto brake that was effective. The Advanced rating denotes that the model has a forward collision warning system and an auto brake system and the auto brake system slowed the vehicle by at least 5 mph in at least 1 of the 2 tests. A Superior rating shows that the vehicle forward collision warning system and auto braking systems can substantially reduce speeds or avoid crashes in both the low (12mph) and moderate (25mph) speed crash tests.

Points awarded for this technology equates to the three tier rating of 1 for Basic, 2-4 for Advanced and 5-6 for Superior.

Five Crash Tests

The IIHS safety ratings are based 5 crash tests that they perform on each model to ascertain their safety rankings. These five tests include the new small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side crash test, head restraints and seats and roof strength.

The new small overlap crash test has been making safety waves in the industry for its explicit focus on the vulnerabilities of manufacturers that focused most of their crumple safety zones in the middle of the vehicle, to the detriment of the occupant during small overlap crashes. A small overlap crash is one where you would collide with an oncoming vehicle or a stationary object like a tree or pole on the corner of your vehicle. This crash before better design would often cause the tire to impact into the occupant zone and cause serious injuries to your legs.

However, each of the tests is important. The side crash test showcases how manufacturers can ensure occupant safety in one of the most vulnerable areas of a vehicle, where there are no crumple zones. The head restraint and seat tests now encompass the use of a crash test dummy with an articulated spine and neck to demonstrate a crashes effect on your body more accurately.

These tests are consistently some of the best conducted in the world to show how safety features can make a real difference during an accident.

To understand the true importance of these tests consider this statistic:

“A driver of a vehicle rated good in the moderate overlap test is 46% less likely to die in a frontal crash…” IIHS.

Make safety one of your priorities by choosing a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

71 Vehicles to Buy for Safety

Looking for a new vehicle can be exhausting and tiring. Not only do you need to decide on size and price factors, but more and more consumers are also ruling out vehicles based on poor safety features. Before the IIHS started conducting tests over a decade ago, buyers had to rely on consumer reports, fatality statistics or industry claims.

Now there is the IIHS TSP and TSP+ to help narrow down the field almost instantly. The fact that these ratings can literally mean the difference between life and death in certain crash circumstances has led consumers to making smarter informed choices. The ratings are meant as a comparison only within their categories, so a TSP+ of a small car is not necessarily the same measure of safety as a TSP+ of a Large SUV.

Below is the list for the IIHS’s 2015 Top Safety Picks by category.

Minicars Small cars Midsize
Moderate Price
Midsize
Luxury Cars
Large family cars Large luxury cars Small SUVs Midsize SUVs Midsize luxury SUVs Minivans Large pickups
TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+ TSP+
Acura Acura Acura
TLX * RLX* MDX*
Audi Audi Audi
A3PZ* A6* Q5*
BMW
2 Series*
Chrysler 200
Infiniti Infiniti
Q50* Q70*(but not V8 4WD models)
Honda Honda
CR-V* Pilot*
Hyundai
Genesis*
Lexus Lexus Lexus
CT 200h RC* NX*
Mazda 3 Mazda 6 Mazda
Sedan 4-door sedan with OCP CX-5*
Hatchback
Mercedes Mercedes
E Class M Class *
Mitsubishi
Outlander*
Nissan
Murano*
Subaru Subaru Subaru
Impreza Legacy* Forester*
XV Crosstrek Outback *
Toyota Toyota Toyota Toyota
Prius Camry* Highlander* Sienna with OCP
Prius v*
Volkswagen Volkswagen
Golf 4-door Hatchbackwith optional crash prevention (OCP)* Jetta 4-door*
GTI 4-door Hatchback*
Volvo Volvo Volvo
S60 S80 XC60
V60
Minicars Small cars Midsize
Moderate Price
Midsize
Luxury Cars
Large family cars Large luxury cars Small SUVs Midsize SUVs Midsize luxury SUVs Minivans Large pickups
TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP TSP
Audi
Q3
Buick
Encore
Chevrolet Chevrolet Chevrolet Chevrolet Chevrolet
Spark Sonic Malibu Trax Equinox
Volt
Dodge
Dart
Ford Ford Ford Ford
C-Max Hybrid Fusion Flex F150
SuperCrew models only
Focus
GMC
Terrain
Honda Honda Honda Honda
Fit Civic 2-door Coupe Accord 2-door coupe Odyssey
Civic 4-door Sedan Accord 4-door Sedan
Hyundai Hyundai
Elantra Sonata
Infiniti
QX60
Kia Kia Kia Kia
Soul Optima Sorrento Sedona
Lincoln
MKZ
Mini Cooper
Countryman
Mitsubishi Mitsubishi
Lancer Outlander Sport
Nissan Nissan Nissan Nissan
Sentra Altima Rogue Pathfinder
Scion
FR-S
tC
Subaru
BRZ
WRX
Toyota Toyota Toyota
Prius C Avalon Rav4
Volkswagen Volkswagen
Golf 4-door Hatchback Jetta 4-door
GTI 4-door Hatchback Passat

*Only vehicles w/OCP

You should also check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) crash testing database known as the 5-Star Safety Ratings. As both organizations do not test every model produced, they do test the majority of volume producers. If you do not find it rated in either database it was either not tested or did not make it to the top safety ratings or picks of either organization.

The ultimate decision in buying a new car based on safety needs to still consider a number of factors but if you can check off a Top Safety Pick and a 5-Star rating you almost have your decision made for you.

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