NEW YORK — Crash tests have long been a key element in how the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles. Side impact and hits to front on the driver’s side are analyzed, but this year the group added a new test: crashes to the front on the passenger side.
“We’ve been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver’s side since 2012 and we’ve seen a lot of improvement on that side, but we weren’t seeing that kind of for passengers,” said Adrian Lund, the president of the IIHS.
Fifteen vehicles earned the group’s highest award of Top Safety Pick +.
It’s a drop from last year and the new crash tests are not the only reason why.
The IIHS is also raising it’s standards for headlights.
“We rate headlamps because when we look at how they light up the road many of them aren’t doing a very good job. The difference between a headlamp that rates as good as far as how far down the road you can see and one that we rate as poor, it literally is night and day,” Lund said. “We think it’s important that manufacturers improve how lamps light up the road because the most serious crashes happen at night.”
Vehicles that come with auto braking also earn high marks and many automakers have pledged to make it a standard feature by 2022.
“Cars are safer now than they ever have been.”
Lund said with even more improvements in crash test performance and headlights, vehicles will be even safer down the road.
Top Safety Pick + Award Winners
Kia Forte sedan
4-door sedan | 4-door wagon
Large luxury cars
BMW 5 series
Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Midsize luxury SUV
Top Safety Pick Winners
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Hyundai Elantra GT
4-door sedan | 4-door hatchback
Toyota Prius Prime
Midsize luxury cars
Alfa Romeo Giulia
BMW 3 series sedan
Midsize luxury SUVs