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IIHS Changes Top Safety Pick + Criteria Again

Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) changed its criteria for Top Safety Pick ratings to include tests of forward collision avoidance systems. Now, IIHS conducted another round of tests of these active safety systems, and will once again change the criteria for the institute's highest Top Safety Pick + award.

The IIHS' automatic braking evaluations include two tests: one at 12 mph and one at 25 mph, where a car heads towards an obstacle to with the forward collision warning and/or autobrake systems turned on. Cars are rated either Basic, Advanced, or Superior depending on whether they provide only a forward collision audio-visual warning or also autobraking functions.

The IIHS gave 21 of the 24 vehicles tested in this latest round an Advanced or Superior rating, and so the Top Safety Pick + rating will now apply only to models with an Advanced rating or higher. This highest rating previously required only a rating of Basic, and the IIHS will announce the new 2015 Top Safety Pick + award winners this December. All of the other criteria for this rating, as well as for the Top Safety Pick rating, remain the same, as vehicles must achieve scores of Good in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests, and a Good or Acceptable rating in the small overlap front crash test.

The four highest-scoring models were the 2014 BMW 5 Series, the 2014 BMW X5, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Each of these vehicles received a perfect score, meaning that they achieve the Superior rating and scored the maximum six points for their respective collision warning with braking function systems. Additional cars rated as Superior include the 2014 Buick Regal, the 2014 Cadillac CTS, the 2014 Cadillac XTS, and the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Thirteen other models earned an Advanced rating, and three others were rated Basic.

Stay tuned for more news from the IIHS on which vehicles will qualify for the Top Safety Pick + rating under the new criteria.