IIHS releases its 2018 ‘Top Safety Pick’ vehicles

U.S. & World
R-IIHS-2018 TOP-SAFETY-PICKS–mu_370303

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Only 15 2018 vehicles qualify for the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, after the requirements were strengthened to include good-rated headlights and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in front crashes.

Another 47 vehicles earn the TOP SAFETY PICK award, which now requires acceptable or good headlights. Headlights weren’t factored in for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK, and an acceptable headlight rating was enough to bump a 2017 award winner into “plus” territory.

The inclusion of a passenger-side crash test is a first for any IIHS award. The Institute developed the passenger-side small overlap front crash test after it became clear that some manufacturers weren’t paying sufficient attention to the passenger side as they made improvements to achieve better performance in the driver-side small overlap front test.

The Institute’s headlight ratings are based on tests that measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other.

The 15 TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners include four small cars, three midsize cars, five large luxury cars, two midsize non-luxury SUVs and one midsize luxury SUV.

No minivans, pickups or mini cars earn the highest award. Models from a wider range of vehicle types earn TOP SAFETY PICK, but there are no mini cars in that category either.

Most of the TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards go to two manufacturers: Hyundai Motor Co. – which owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands – has six models earning the award, and Subaru has four. Mercedes-Benz has two, while Toyota, BMW and Ford Motor Co. have one each.

Toyota Motor Corp. has the most vehicles on the TOP SAFETY PICK list. Hyundai is the runner-up with nine. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru’s 2018 lineup earn one of the awards. The Impreza, Legacy, Outback and WRX qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+ when equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights. The Crosstrek and the Forester earn TOP SAFETY PICK, also with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights. The BRZ is the only Subaru model that doesn’t qualify.

Across manufacturers, the vast majority of winners qualify only when optionally equipped because front crash prevention and acceptable or good headlights aren’t part of their base trims.

Automakers say they’ve pledged to make autobrake standard on virtually all passenger vehicles by 2022, but for now the technology remains mostly optional, especially on nonluxury brands. An exception is Toyota, which has equipped all but a handful of Toyota and Lexus models with standard autobrake and other advanced features. Seven models with standard autobrake – the Toyota Camry, Corolla, Prius, Prius Prime and Highlander and the Lexus IS and NX – also have standard acceptable or good headlights and qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK without any added options. The addition of optional curve-adaptive headlights that earn a good rating boosts the Camry to TOP SAFETY PICK+.

TOP SAFETY PICK+ – small cars

  • Kia Forte sedan
  • Kia Soul
  • Subaru Impreza

TOP SAFETY PICK+ – 4-door sedan/wagon 

  • Subaru WRX

TOP SAFETY PICK+ – Midsize cars

  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry

TOP SAFETY PICK+ – Large luxury cars

  • BMW 5 series
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan


  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

TOP SAFETY PICK+ – Midsize luxury SUV 

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC

TOP SAFETY PICK – Small cars

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
  • Hyundai Elantra GT
  • Mazda 3

TOP SAFETY PICK – 4-door sedan | 4-door hatchback

  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Prius Prime

TOP SAFETY PICK – Midsize cars

  • Honda Accord
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Optima
  • Nissan Altima
  • Nissan Maxima

TOP SAFETY PICK – Midsize luxury cars

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A4
  • BMW 3 series sedan
  • Lexus ES
  • Lexus IS
  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo V60

TOP SAFETY CARS – Large cars

  • Kia Cadenza
  • Toyota Avalon


  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Kia Sportage
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota RAV4


  • Honda Pilot
  • Kia Sorento
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Toyota Highlander

TOP SAFETY PICK – Midsize luxury SUVs

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Buick Envision
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus RX
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • Volvo XC60


  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Honda Odyssey

TOP SAFETY PICK: Large pickup

  • Honda Ridgeline

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

NBC4 Jobs

Trending on NBC4i.com

Today's Central OH Forecast

More Forecast

Don't Miss


Storm Team 4 on Alexa