The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced its safest cars for the 2013 model year. In all, the new Top Safety Pick+ was awarded to 13 different cars, with another 117 vehicles earning the title of Top Safety Pick. To earn a Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles must earn a good or acceptable rating in the new overlap test while still earning a score of “good” in other IIHS testing.  Vehicles that earned a Top Safety Pick award still scored high on the normal testing procedures.

As for which vehicles earned the honor of being called a Top Safety Pick+, they include the Acura TL, Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200 sedan, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (both the coupe and sedan), Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi, Volkswagen Passat, and the Volvo S60. Out of all the vehicles listed, only the Acura TL and Volvo S60 fall under the category of midsize luxury vehicles; the rest are categorized as “midsize moderately priced” vehicles.

“Of the 29 models evaluated so far in our small overlap frontal crash test, these 13 cars offer the highest level of all-around crash protection,” says Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “We’re pleased to recognize them with our new Top Safety Pick+ award for 2013.”

Every vehicle tested by the IIHS earns a score of either poor, marginal, acceptable, or good depending on how it does during crash testing. The IIHS simulates frontal and side impact crashes along with rollovers, too. Testing is also conducted for seat and head restraints to see how each fares during an accident. Top Safety Pick+ vehicles must earn a score of good for at least four of the five tests conducted by the IIHS. If a vehicle doesn’t get a score of “good” in one of the five tests, it must earn at least a score of “marginal” to still earn the title of being called a Top Safety Pick+. The other 117 vehicles that earned a Top Safety Pick received good ratings in frontal, side impact, rollover, and rear crash tests.

“Models that earn Top Safety Pick also offer outstanding protection in many crashes,” Lund says. “These vehicles are much safer choices than most vehicles on the market just five years ago.”

Automakers shouldn’t be surprised by how its respective vehicle fares in IIHS testing. The IIHS gives each manufacturer an advanced notice when testing procedures are scheduled to change. Because of this, automakers usually have ample time to engineer vehicles so each will conform to IIHS safety regulations and do well when tested.

“We’ve seen automakers make structural and restraint changes in response to our small overlap test,” Lund says. “Five manufacturers redesigned their midsize cars to enhance small overlap crash protection.”

To see the full list of IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Picks, visit their website for a full breakdown by segment.

Source: IIHS

By Trevor Dorchies

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