IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Honors: 2019 Best of the Best

Susan Frissell, editor

IIHS has chosen it’s ‘best of the best’ vehicles for the year 2019. Last year, only 12 vehicles initially qualified for the top category. Another 27 qualified as IIHS Top Safety Pick Winners.

As automakers continue to make needed changes and improvements, it becomes a little easier to name new cars the “best.” Qualifications by IIHS have been tightened for 2019, including an increase in crash-test standards. As expected, many major brands were in the top running, including Subaru, Kia and Hyundai.

Stricter standards require automakers to get at least a “good” rating in a passenger-side crash test which assess the vehicle’s performance when the front-right corner smashes into something. Also required in the Top Safety Pick list are “good” headlights. Most of the vehicles to qualify must have the optional upgrade packages that have better functioning headlights.

The IIHS has found that many vehicles available do not provide sufficient nighttime illumination due to poor manufacturing, inadequate design and outdated regulations. Insufficient illumination has been the reason no pickups and some popular SUV’s have not been on the list.

The Top Safety Picks include:

Small cars: Honda Insight, Hyundai Elantra (after 9/18), Kia Forte, Kia Niro hybrid, Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid, Subaru Crosstrek, Subaru Impreza 4-dr. sedan, Subaru Impreza wagon, Subaru WRX;

Midsize cars: Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry, Genesis G70, Lexus ES;

Large cars: Toyota Avalon (after 9/2018), BMW 5 series, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4-door sedan;

Small SUVs: Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-5;

Small cars: Hyundai Elantra GT, Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid (after 8/18), Kia Soul, Nissan Kicks, Toyota Corolla 4-door hatchback;

Midsize cars: Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Audi A3, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4-door sedan;

Large cars: Kia Cadenza

Small SUVs: BMW X2, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester;

Midsize SUVs: Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe XL, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder (after 8/18), Toyota Highlander;

Minivans: Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey.

There were, of course, those brands that did not make the list in any category. Those included General Motors, Ford Motor, Tesla, Volvo, Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep, Ram and Dodge.

Next on IIHS’ list will be coming up with measures to assess each vehicle’s performance on pedestrian safety, amid heightened awareness of the pedestrian safety crisis. On that list will be some kind of emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

(USA Today, December 19, 2018)

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