Hyundai and Subaru Earn the Most IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2018

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Hyundai, which also includes the Kia and Genesis brands, lead the way with six Top Safety Pick+ winners.

M - For model-year 2018, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety strengthened its Top Safety Pick Plus award requirements - and just 15 vehicles qualified for the award during the agency's most recent round of testing. With 15 of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection.

Despite safer vehicles, there was a 5.6 percent uptick in US auto crash deaths in 2016, the second consecutive year numbers were higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

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Rather than design elements, Lund said headlights should be treated as safety features to help avoid a crash at night. Toyota claimed 10 models, including the Camry. To qualify for the TPS+ award, vehicles must also earn an acceptable rating in a new passenger-side small overlap front test introduced by the IIHS for 2018. It was this test that caused the significant drop in the number of vehicles earning the top rating.

"We developed this test when it became clear that some manufacturers were not paying attention to the passenger side", said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. The IIHS gave the award to only 15 vehicles, compared to 69 a year ago. In short, base models rarely make the grade.

Subaru, Hyundai and Toyota had the most vehicles selected for the rating.

Scoring an acceptable rating for headlight visibility is enough for getting on the Top Safety Pick list but no longer for earning the coveted TPS+ award, which now requires a good rating unlike previous year. The track tests, which measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other.

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