ARLINGTON, VA (CBSMiami) - The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced its picks for safest cars of 2019.
Cars of all shapes and sizes were tested and 57 of the 2019 models received the agencies top two awards - Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. That's five fewer than last year, but that may not be surprising since the agency also raised the bar.
The cars and SUVs were tested for how well they handled, avoided crashes, and headlight function.
The Chrysler Pacifica minivan was the only "American" vehicle on the list. Subaru, Hyundai, Toyota, and Kia were most frequently cited.
The 30 first-tier "plus" award winners earned the highest rating for passenger-side protection in a small overlap front crash and have good-rated available headlights. The 27 winners of the second-tier award had an acceptable or higher rating in the newest IIHS crash test and the nighttime headlight evaluation.
All 57 vehicles in this elite group earn good ratings in the Institute's five other crash worthiness evaluations and have an available automatic emergency braking system that rates advanced or superior for front crash prevention.
Across manufacturers, the majority of award winners qualify only when optionally equipped because good or acceptable
headlights and an advanced- or superior-rated front crash prevention system aren't part of their base trims.
Twenty automakers have pledged to equip virtually all passenger vehicles with autobrake by 2022. Many are on track to
beat the deadline under a voluntary commitment brokered in 2015 by IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety
Cars and SUVs account for the bulk of the Top Safety Pick + winners in most size classes. Missing are microcars,
minicars, minivans and pickups. All classes except for microcars and pickups are represented among the Top Safety Pick winners.
The Subaru brand led with seven 2019 Top Safety Pick+ winners. They are the Ascent, Crosstrek, Impreza
sedan and wagon, Legacy, Outback and WRX. The Forester falls shy of the top award because its headlights rate
acceptable, but the small SUV qualifies for Top Safety Pick.
Hyundai Motor Co. owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands. The Hyundai and Kia nameplates earn four and five
Top Safety Pick+ awards, respectively, while Genesis has three Top Safety Pick+ awards. Hyundai also earns
six Top Safety Picks and Kia earns three.
Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp. and its Lexus brand qualify for three Top Safety Pick+ awards each. BMW
earns two top-tier awards and a Top Safety Pick.
Honda and its Acura brand pick up two Top Safety Pick+ awards and four Top Safety Picks. Mazda has one Top Safety Pick+ and two Top Safety Picks for 2019.
Besides the Forester, 17 other vehicles just missed achieving the top award because of acceptable-rated headlights.
The Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Altima and Toyota Corolla are among this group. IIHS began rating
headlights in 2016 based on research showing that many headlights don't do a good job of adequately lighting the road at night while limiting glare for oncoming drivers.
Absent from the winner's circle are Fiat Chrysler's Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands; Ford and its Lincoln brand; General
Motors' Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands; and Tesla. All failed to qualify for either award.
The Ford Fusion and the Ram 1500 crew cab, for instance, are held back by under performing headlights. What's more, several Dodge and Ford models with older designs still lack a good rating for driver-side protection in a small overlap front crash.
Volvo hasn't yet qualified for a 2019 award due to missing passenger-side small overlap front test results.
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