IIHS releases most recent “top safety pick” winners list.
How well does your car hold up in a crash? Knowing that is important for two reasons: 1) you want both you and your passengers to be safe in the event of an accident and, 2) you would like to save money on auto insurance, a cost that correlates closely to the first reason.
Top Safety Picks
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an organization funded by America’s leading insurance companies, conducts tests on new vehicles to determine how each one will fare in a crash. The higher the score, the lower your insurance premium might be as the IIHS’ “top safety picks” generally provide that advantage for consumers. Another testing standard, from the NHTSA, can also impact your insurance rates.
To gain its “top safety pick” recognition, vehicles must receive a “good” rating from the IIHS in all four test criteria: frontal offset, side impact, roof strength and rear crash protection/head restraint. In addition, the IIHS requires manufacturers to include standard electronic stability control for a vehicle to receive its top award. Score good on all four criteria is not enough – stability control must be offered across a model’s vehicle line.
For 2012, the IIHS has recognized 115 vehicles, representing its longest list ever. That number is broken down into four groups: 69 cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans, and 3 pickup trucks.
If you’re shopping for a new, 2012 model vehicle, then the following list of winners should be of interest to you:
Fiat 500 built after July 2011
Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback
Toyota Yaris 4-door hatchback
Honda Civic 4-door
Kia Forte sedan
Lexus CT 200h
Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback
Mini Cooper Countryman
Mitsubishi Lancer except Ralliart and Evolution
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Volkswagen GTI 4-door
Midsize moderately priced cars
Chrysler 200 4-door
Toyota Prius v
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Midsize luxury/near luxury cars
Acura TL built after September 2011
Acura TSX sedan and hatchback
Volkswagen CC except 4-wheel drive
Large family cars
Large luxury cars
BMW 5 series except 4-wheel drive and V8
Cadillac CTS sedan
Infiniti M37/M56 except M56x 4-wheel drive
Mercedes E-Class sedan
Mercedes E-Class coupe
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Midsize luxury SUVs
Chrysler Town & Country
Dodge Grand Caravan
Ford F-150 crew cab models
Toyota Tundra crew cab models
You can also check the IIHS website to see how your current car scored in institute testing. Your insurance rates should reflect a good score — if not, you can use the information provided by the IIHS to negotiate a better rate.