A dozen small vehicles earn 2016 Top Safety Pick awards


If a new car is in your near future and vehicle safety is high on your list of priorities, then the IIHS 2016 safety awards can help steer you in the right direction.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute have selected 61 new models as either Top Safety Pick (13) or Top Safety Pick+ (48) after rigorous crash testing.

The award winners earned good ratings in all five of the Institute’s crashworthiness evaluations and an advanced or higher plus rating for front crash prevention.

Photo: iihs.org The Subaru Impreza was impressive in IIHS crash tests.
Photo: iihs.org
The Subaru Impreza was impressive in IIHS crash tests.

Over the next four weeks, we’ll take a look at all 61 vehicles, starting with IIHS small car and minicar category winners, which comprise 12 vehicles from eight manufacturers. Subaru earned the most safety awards (small car category), with the Crosstrek, Impreza and WRX all receiving TSP+ awards.

Top Safety Picks Icon“The rigorous testing by IIHS encourages manufacturers to continue building safer vehicles,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America. “I am proud of Subaru for consistently scoring their highest possible ratings.”

Volkswagen, which has admitted cheating on emissions standards, was the only other manufacturer that received recognition in the small car category, with Golf and GTI delivering TSP+ awards.

The other six small car winners were Chevrolet Sonic, Kia Soul and Nissan Sentra, all with TSP awards, and the Acura ILX, Lexus CT 200h and Mazda 3 with TSP+ awards. The Scion iA, which received a TSP+ award, was the only vehicle recognized by IIHS in the minicar category.

Last year, 71 models earned the IIHS safety pick awards, with nearly half receiving TSP+ recognition.

“We asked auto manufacturers to do more this year to qualify for our safety awards, and they delivered,” said Adrian Lund of IIHS. “For the first time a good rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test is a requirement to win, in addition to an available front crash prevention system.”

The IIHS tests evaluate two aspects of safety, crashworthiness, or how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash, and crash avoidance and mitigation, technology that can prevent crashes or reduce their severity. The organization rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in five tests, moderate front overlap, small front overlap, side, roof strength and head restraints. IIHS also assigns vehicles with front crash prevention systems ratings of basic, advanced or superior.

The IIHS inaugurated the Top Safety Pick program for the 2006 model year to help consumers home in on vehicles with the best safety performance. The organization introduced the TSP+ accolade in 2012 to recognize vehicles that offer an advanced level of safety.