Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its latest list of the safest vehicles.

Leading the way this year for the most top safety pick plus awards are Hyundai and Subaru. To qualify for the TPS+ award, vehicles must also earn an acceptable rating in a new passenger-side small overlap front test introduced by the IIHS for 2018.

Another 47 vehicles earn the TOP SAFETY PICK award, which now requires acceptable or good headlights.

Hyundai - which includes some Kias - and Subaru were the big winners, earning the most Top Safety Pick Plus awards. It was this test that caused the significant drop in the number of vehicles earning the top rating.

The new passenger-side small overlap test marks the first time IIHS has focused a crash test on the front passenger's safety.

"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", says IIHS President Adrian Lund. It began measuring both how well low and high beams illuminated the road and the amount of glare they produce for oncoming vehicles as part of its ratings in 2016.

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The models that earned the top ranking for 2018 so far are the BMW 5 Series, Kia Forte sedan, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, Lincoln Continental, Kia Soul, Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Subaru WRX, and Toyota Camry, according to Consumer Reports. Kia and Subaru models were among the highest rated; no minivans, pickups or mini-cars made the cut.

Headlights that effectively light up the road are another area where the IIHS has raised its standards.

"All automakers have pledged to make auto braking standard equipment on their vehicles by 2022", said Lund. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety.

Only 15 vehicles qualified for what the institute calls its Top Safety Pick+.

"The improvements in occupant protection have been awesome over the past decades", he said in a statement.

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