It's harder than it used to be to get a top vehicle safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition to a top rating in traditional crash tests, the "top safety pick plus" rating now requires collision-avoidance technology and well-rated headlights.
As new active safety technology like front crash prevention has become available, the IIHS has tested these systems and added them to the requirements for the top rating. More recently, to focus on the dangers of substandard headlights, superior performance in this category has been added to the necessary hurdles.
The seven vehicles announced so far in 2017 as "top safety picks plus" include two SUVs, two mainstream sedans and three luxury sedans. Vehicles that do well in the crash tests for front, side, glancing front blow and rollover but don't earn adequate crash prevention or headlight ratings get the next rank -- "top safety pick" without the "plus." Numerous other 2017 models earned the "top safety pick plus" ratings but already were announced last year.
Let's have a closer look at the seven "top safety picks plus" announced this year. The advanced safety features and certain headlights are optional on most of these models, and the "top safety pick plus" ratings apply only to models with all that equipment.