IIHS releases its 2021 crash-test winners

This year, a whopping 90 vehicles earned accolades from the organization, proving vehicles are safer than ever.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
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That's got to hurt!

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Vehicles keep getting safer, which is a very good thing for everyone. In case you needed proof of this trend, the Insurance Institute for Highway safety released a report on Wednesday highlighting the models that perform best in its crash tests.

IIHS is recognizing a whopping 49 models this year for their outstanding safety. Each of these vehicles earned a Top Safety Pick Plus score in the organization's rigorous testing, the highest rating it hands out. Beyond that, an additional 41 vehicles were found worthy of Top Safety Pick honors. Altogether, 90 models in total earned these accolades, which crushes the industry's performance in 2020. In February of last year, just 64 vehicles earned a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus rating.

The crash testing performed by IIHS is far more rigorous than what the US government mandates. The organization's moderate- and small-overlap evaluations are particularly challenging, subjecting vehicles to incredible forces that leave them practically unrecognizable afterward. But automakers have responded to these tests, building ever-safer vehicles.

To earn either of those coveted IIHS awards, a vehicle must perform well in six different crash tests: driver- and passenger-side small-overlap front, moderate-overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Crash prevention technology that's rated "superior" must also be offered and these vehicles' headlights must be rated "good" or at a minimum "acceptable."

You may be surprised to learn (but you really shouldn't) the Motor Group earned the most IIHS awards for 2021. A dozen of its models from the Kia, Genesis and Hyundai brands garnered Top Safety Pick honors, while an additional five were rated Top Safety Pick Plus.

True to form, Volvo did spectacularly well this year, which should be no surprise since the Swedish automaker has historically prided itself on safety. Nine Volvos earned a Top Safety Pick Plus score, more than any other manufacturer.

On the flipside, Mitsubishi didn't win any awards and even only secured two: one Top Safety Pick and a Top Safety Pick Plus. As for individual nameplates, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna minivans both garnered a Top Safety Pick Plus accolade, while the Ram 1500 crew-cab pickup truck scored Top Safety Pick honors.

For a complete listing of the 2021 winners, head over to the IIHS website

Check out the gory details in Honda's IIHS crash-tested HR-V

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