IIHS crash-tests a Volkswagen Touareg, the only large SUV to get its top safety pick award.
More vehicles than ever before can claim a “top safety pick” award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Virginia-based organization gave that honor to 66 of the latest cars, trucks and crossovers, more than doubling the number of top picks it awarded last year.
Among the top-rated models were 40 passenger cars, 25 sport-utility vehicles and one minivan, reports the IIHS, which serves as an automotive testing and lobbying group for the insurance industry. It regularly crash tests new vehicles in a private counterpart to the tests done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2009, the IIHS handed out just 27 top picks, noted the group’s director, Adrian Lund. Doubling that list, he said, ” gives consumers shopping for a safer new car or SUV – from economy to luxury models – plenty of choices to consider in most dealer showrooms. In fact, every major automaker has at least one winning model this year.”
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To get designated a top safety pick isn’t easy, requiring a vehicle to score well in a variety of tests, including front, side, rollover and rear crashes. Vehicles must also be equipped with a range of standard safety features, including airbags, traction control and electronic stability control, at a minimum. They must also meet minimum requirements in roof crush tests.