These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its top safety picks for 2018 and the head of that agency says the results of its crash tests are good news for the driving public.

"Cars are safer now than they ever have been", Lund believes with even more improvements in crash test performance and headlights, vehicles will be even safer down the road.

Most of the Top Safety Pick Plus Awards went to Hyundai Motor Company with 6 awards and Subaru with four.

Toyota, Hyundai, and Subaru were among the brands that ranked highest in the ratings overall, although BMW and Mercedes-Benz also had several models on the list.

This year, vehicles must receive a good or acceptable rating passenger-side protection in the small overlap front crash test to get the institute's highest ranking.

"We did see a big reduction in the number of vehicles that earned top safety picks this year because we raised the bar, but people shouldn't think that vehicles are less safe, they are safer than they have ever been before", Lund said. Check out the full list of models that qualify.

The inclusion of a passenger-side crash test is a first for any IIHS award. It's a drop from previous year - and the new crash tests are not the only reason why.

"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", said IIHS President Adrian Lund. "Manufacturers have been taking this issue seriously since we first shed light on it, and we're confident that good small overlap protection will become the norm on the passenger side, just as it has on the driver side". The institute also tests headlight systems where IIHS engineers measure the reach of a vehicle's headlights on straight roads and on curves. Automakers have committed to making this technology standard by 2022. The highly-rated headlights, for example, do not come standard on base models and many vehicles lack crash avoidance technology. By fall of 2017, 69 vehicles had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 51 had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK.

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