IIHS Toughens Up Crash-Test Standards for 2018

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has updated its Top Safety Pick+ requirements to include good-rated headlights and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes - and as a result, just 15 vehicles qualify for top honors.

Most cars on the top pick lists only qualified when they came with optional equipment, such as automatic emergency braking. Subaru was right behind with four, Mercedes-Benz had two, and Toyota, BMW and Ford each had one. IIHS is now demanding better performance from auto makers when it comes to headlights and passenger protection in what are known as small overlap crashes - ones involving just the front corner of the vehicle.

"Fifteen vehicles meeting these new tougher criteria for top safety pick plus is a good news story for consumers", said Lund.

Of the hundreds of vehicle models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions. The BRZ is the only Subaru model that doesn't qualify.

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The Top Safety Pick+ winners are listed below.

New passenger offset tests lowers number of top-ranked vehicles. 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. It's a drop from a year ago - and the new crash tests are not the only reason why.

"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", IIHS President Adrian Lund said in a statement. The institute also tests headlight systems where IIHS engineers measure the reach of a vehicle's headlights on straight roads and on curves.

The IIHS is also raising it's standards for headlights. Automakers have pledged to make it a standard feature by 2022. In order to meet the top ranking, and in some instances, simply being a "Top Pick", the vehicle must be upgraded. By fall of 2017, 69 vehicles had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 51 had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK.

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