2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick List Balloons to 115 New Cars

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As the end of the year arrives, individuals and families undertake some extended journeys. Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and let’s not forget the Boxing Day rushes are times that roadways load with additional travelers simply expecting to make it between destinations safely. The higher traffic and even the irresponsible other drivers threaten this basic security on the road that can quickly change joy to tragedy. Bringing some positive reinforcement to the trips on major roads and highways, responsible new vehicles occupants can take to the road with a cautious yet assured sense of safety according to crash test assessments performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The IIHS crash test results have concluded that there is a record 115 vehicles built for the 2012 model year earning the highest Top Safety Pick rating. One of the highest ratings for crash safety in the United States, the Top Safety Pick following IIHS tests is awarded when a new vehicle passes a battery of crash-worthiness examinations. Testing front impact, side-impact, rear impact, and roof structure, vehicles that pass every test with the highest ‘Good’ rating are granted the Top Safety Pick classification by the IIHS.

Part of the well-performing car category is the new crop of fuel-efficient mini or subcompacts. The Fiat 500Ford FiestaChevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris were all part of the 2012 list of Top Safety Picks. However, while small cars performed strong enough to assure crash avoidance and survivability, the IIHS notes that the Top Safety Pick rating is relative to a vehicle segment. Therefore, larger, heavier vehicles could be better in real-world crashworthiness when compared to smaller cars.

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Another spotlight vehicle segment that performed strongly during the IIHS evaluations was those featuring electrified powertrains. The Lexus CT 200h, Toyota Prius hatchback as well as the new Prius v wagon both left testing with Top Safety Pick ratings. The Nissan Leaf and made the coveted IIHS standing, as did the Chevrolet Volt. Embroiled in concern over possible delayed fires to the battery pack following NHTSA crash testing, the Volt standard side airbags and other safety features allow the plug-in hybrid to boast strong crashworthiness immediately after an accident.

Toyota Motor Corporate products (including Lexus and Scion) were the ultimate leaders among all automakers, with 15 vehicles receiving top honours. Along with the Prius hybrid cars, the popular selling 2012 Toyota Camry and Highlander are Top Safety Pick award winners. The 2012 Toyota Tundra crew cab is also one of only three vehicles earning the coveted Top Safety Pick large trucks joining the crew cab version of the Ford F-150 and Honda Ridgeline.

Faring well for their overall line-up with 14 awards, General Motors vehicles were also well represented on the IIHS Top Safety Picklist. The popular Chevrolet Cruze resides in automobiles recognized in the small car category, while the Chevy Equinox, Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS, and Buick Regal were also presented as representing class-leading safety. Entering the upscale small car market, the Buick Verano will receive a bode of confidence on roadways thanks to a Top Safety Pick rank.

Receiving less than preferable press for their styling and new car releases, Honda’s results of the 2012 model year testing were much more favorable. Ten of eighteen new vehicles to earn Top Safety Pick ratings after testing belonged to the Japanese auto brand. Both Honda hybrid products, the CR-Z and Insight, are new recipients of the Top Safety Pick classification for 2012. The 2012 Honda Civic, as well as the mid-sized Accord, are two cars the company is proud to have as part of a line-up that now consists of 91 percent IIHS Top Safety Pick vehicles.

With each passing year, it seems less labor-intensive process just listing the cars that did not earn the Top Safety Pick rating. As crash testing continues to tell the consumer, Automakers have made incredible strides in advancing safety technology in modern vehicles. The IIHS testing, as well as the important NTHSA New Car Assessment Program, have pushed auto companies to new levels of engineering and technology, benefiting the automobile.

For the entire list of 2012 Top Safety Pick vehicles, please refer to the IIHS website.

Information source: Honda, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Toyota
Photo source: Ford Motor Company, General Motors