IIHS announces 115 Top Safety Picks

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) named 115 vehicles as Top Safety Picks. The list includes 18 new vehicles for 2012, and 97 models from 2011, that award carry over to 2012.

The 2012 Mazda3 is one of 115 vehicles named Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Mazda

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) today named its Top Safety Picks--115 vehicles in all. The list includes 15 vehicles from Toyota, Lexus, and Scion, 14 vehicles from General Motors, and 13 each from Volkswagen and Audi.

The winners' circle includes 18 new vehicles for 2012, and 97 models that qualified for the 2011 award carry over to 2012.

"For the second year running, a record number of models qualify," IIHS President Adrian Lund said in a press release. "It's tough to win, and we commend auto manufacturers for making safety a top priority."

IIHS recognized a variety of vehicles this year. The list includes 69 cars, 38 SUVs, five minivans, and three full-size pickups. The vehicles on the list rate highest in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on IIHS criteria.

New for 2012, electronic stability control (to help drivers avoid loss of control), is no longer is a requirement to win as it was in prior years. New federal guidelines require all 2012 and later passenger vehicles to have ESC.

"When we launched Top Safety Pick in 2005, consumers had 11 models to pick from. Six years later, finding a winner that fits most budgets and lifestyles is easy," Lund said in the release. "It's a testament to the commitment automakers have made to going above and beyond minimum safety standards."

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