IIHS names 13 safest cars

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rounds up its testing of 2013 model cars, finding 13 that meet its highest criteria for safety.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham

Thirteen cars earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) new Top Safety Pick Plus award, while another 117 vehicles were named as Top Safety Picks. Top Safety Pick Plus winners included such cars as the Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Volkswagen Passat.

To earn the Top Safety Pick Plus award, cars must get the top rating of Good in four of five crash tests, while achieving at least Acceptable in a fifth test. The IIHS recently added the Small Overlap Frontal crash test, and has only subjected 29 cars to it, which limited the pool of potential Top Safety Pick Plus winners. The only cars to earn this award were in the midsize sedan category, the segment where the IIHS began the new test.

The cars earning the standard Top Safety Pick award ranged from the diminutive Fiat 500 to the Ford F-150 pickup truck, although IIHS points out that heavier vehicles will generally fare better than lighter vehicles in a crash. Cars in the tests employ multiple airbags, crumple zones, and side reinforcement to protect occupants in crashes.

The IIHS 2013 Top Safety Pick page lists all the winners, with links to greater detail on each car's performance in the tests. For most cars, the IIHS includes video footage of the tests.