To buy a safe car, you want to know that it can hold up well in crashes. But look also for strong headlights and advanced technology that may help you avoid an accident altogether.
That's what it takes nowadays to win the best rating of "top safety pick plus" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
As new active safety technology like front crash prevention has become available, the IIHS has tested these systems and added them to superior crash-test ratings as requirements for the top overall rating. And to focus on the dangers of substandard headlights, superior performance in this category has also been added to the necessary hurdles.
IIHS recently updated its crash-test requirements. A new test measures occupant protection simulating an accident where one corner of the vehicle on the passenger side hits a tree or light pole.
The six vehicles given top safety pick plus status so far in 2018 scored well in this passenger-side test in addition to tests for a similar collision on the driver side, plus front, side and rollover crashes. Vehicles that meet all other criteria but have not passed the passenger-side test get a ranking of "top safety pick" minus the plus.
Let's have a closer look at the six latest top safety pick plus winners announced so far this year. In some cases, the advanced crash avoidance technology is optional and only versions of a car with those options qualify for the top award.