Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests vehicles to determine how well it can protect occupants in the event of a crash. IIHS tests also look at whether the car has a system that warns the driver of a potential collision or brakes to avoid one.
The IIHS recently awarded 22 new vehicles the institute’s highest safety award, the Top Safety Pick+, which is in its second year and a step above the institute’s Top Safety Pick award. To earn the Top Safety Pick+ award, the cars must perform well in the institute's “small overlap” crash test where 25 percent of the vehicle’s front end collides with a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour. The vehicles must also get at least a basic rating for its front crash prevention system.
This year’s list includes eight newcomers, including the Acura MDX and RLX, Toyota Highlander and Prius, and the Ford Focus.