IIHS Announces 2011 Top Safety Picks; VW, Hyundai-Kia Top List

If there is one thing universally expected in a new car, it's safety. Although every manufacturer will tell you they build the safest cars on the road, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashes piles of cars every year to weed the marketing hype to get real, scientific results. Today, the organization released its Top Safety Pick results for 2011 model year vehicles.

IIHS uses a combination of factors to determine the safest cars on the road. Crashworthiness is the biggest component in judging. Scientific metal on metal violence is the only way to get accurate results. Forty mph offset frontal impact, side, rollover and rear impact tests all combine to represent real world accidents to determine how cars fare. Besides rating cars on how they stand up in an accident. The IIHS also requires top picks that electronic stability control is at least an available option.

The Volkswagen-Audi Group and Kia-Hyundai lead the industry in most Top Picks with nine different cars each. An impressive achievement for manufacturers who offer relatively few models. General Motors, Ford and Toyota all tie for a close second with eight cars each. Subaru put in a strong performance collecting 5 nods, with the surprise being that the Imprezza is chosen while the WRX models are not.

The entire list of 66 vehicles is below.

LARGE CARS

  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Buick Regal
  • BMW 5 series (except 4-wheel drive and V8)
  • Cadillac CTS sedan
  • Ford Taurus
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Infiniti M37/M56 (except M56x 4-wheel drive)
  • Lincoln MKS
  • Mercedes E class coupe
  • Mercedes E class sedan
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Volvo S80
SMALL CARS
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional ESC
  • Kia Forte sedan
  • Kia Soul
  • Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive)
  • Nissan Cube
  • Scion tC
  • Scion xB
  • Subaru Impreza (except WRX): sedan | wagon
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Volkswagen Golf 4-door models
  • Volkswagen GTI 4-door models
MINICARS
  • Ford Fiesta built after July 2010: sedan | hatchback
MIDSIZE CARS
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A4 sedan
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Chrysler 200 4-door models
  • Dodge Avenger
  • Ford Fusion
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Optima
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Mercedes C class
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Volkswagen Jetta sedan
  • Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
  • Volvo C30
MINIVAN
  • Toyota Sienna
LARGE SUV
  • Volkswagen Touareg
MIDSIZE SUVs
  • Audi Q5
  • Cadillac SRX
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Dodge Journey
  • Ford Explorer
  • Ford Flex
  • GMC Terrain
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Kia Sorento built after March 2010
  • Lexus RX
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Mercedes GLK
  • Subaru Tribeca
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Toyota Venza
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC90
SMALL SUVs
  • Honda Element
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
  • Kia Sportage
  • Subaru Forester
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
Source: IIHS

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