2010 IIHS Safety Picks Announced

2010 IIHS Safety Picks Announced


New rollover protection rating trims annual list.

It used to be that to get on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) top safety picks list meant that your vehicle was recently updated to incorporate the latest front, side, and rear crash test requirements. In its position as an independent, nonprofit, research and communication organization for the nation’s car insurers, the IIHS picks have given consumers a very good idea about which cars are safe and which aren’t.

Rollover Protection

IIHSFor 2010, the IIHS added a fourth category, rollover protection, which trimmed its usually generous list by more than two-thirds. In 2009, 94 vehicles were top picks but for 2010 just 27 models managed to qualify, underscoring just how much work needs to be done in the way of passenger vehicle rollover protection.

Adding the rollover protection component to the testing is important because these types of accidents kill more than 9,000 people each year. That’s right, you read that number correctly.

At risk, of course, are many sport/utility vehicles whose higher profiles mean that that there is significantly more roof area involved when an SUV is in an accident. Taller roof pillars and extended roof lines are more difficult to reinforce, hence their risk for consumers.

SUV Qualifiers

Fortunately, out of the 27 vehicles who passed the new IIHS requirements, 8 qualify as sport/utility vehicles. Though, four of those are made by Subaru, whose SUVs are based on car platforms, not truck platforms. Thus, all eight winners are actually crossover models which the IIHS does not separate from SUVs.

To be sure, IIHS requirements go well beyond minimum safety standards. This distinction should be noted by consumers as they shop for a new car, because quite a few acceptable vehicles on the federal list aren’t mentioned by the IIHS. That doesn’t mean that these vehicles are unsafe, rather that they meet different criteria as outlined by the federal government.

No Toyotas

Surprisingly, not one model from the Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota, Lexus, Scion) made this year’s list after having had eleven on it the year before. But Saab, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and BMW also failed to make a return after also having at least one of their models on the IIHS list in recent years.

So, who are the winners this year? I’m glad you asked. Without further delay I offer to you the 27 IIHS top safety picks for 2010 model year vehicles:

Large cars
Buick LaCrosse
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Audi A3
Chevrolet Malibu built after October 2009
Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional electronic stability control
Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control
Mercedes C class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Volvo C30

Small cars
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Soul
Nissan Cube
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door

Midsize SUVs
Dodge Journey
Subaru Tribeca
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs
Honda Element
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

Source: IIHS

Adv. – If you’re planning to buy a new car, a thorough study of the IIHS results can ensure that the vehicle you buy is a safe one. As you do your research you’ll want to get a quote or find a dealer to set up a test drive. Importantly, arranging your own auto financing can save you hundreds of dollars, allowing you to take the manufacturer’s rebate instead of their low-rate financing.


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".