Seven cars and SUVs, including three from General Motors and two from Volkswagen, have received the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Along with the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, the Top Safety Pick Plus designation went to the 2015 Volkswagen Golf and GTI as well as the 2015 Hyundai Genesis and 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
To achieve the Top Safety Pick Plus rating, a 2014 model or later car has to have good ratings in the institute's crash tests -- including the difficult new small overlap test, which simulates hitting another car, a tree or light pole with one corner of the car. In addition, the top-rated vehicles must have a crash prevention system at least as an option -- including automatic braking or front collision warning. Vehicles that perform well in crash tests but do not offer accident-prevention technology get the second-level ranking of Top Safety Pick (without the plus).