If the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety never made it any harder to earn its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards, the list of winners would grow until it encompassed the whole industry. So, for 2019, the IIHS became a little stricter -- but nearly five dozen vehicles still picked up awards.
The IIHS announced on Wednesday that 57 models qualified for its stricter 2019 Top Safety Pick requirements. The belt-tightening comes by way of the IIHS' passenger-side small overlap crash test. Now, to get Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must receive a Good rating in that test, while Top Safety Pick will be offered to vehicles with either Good or Acceptable ratings in this new test, which was created to ensure automakers weren't just reinforcing a single side of the vehicle.
Of course, a number of prior criteria still apply. A vehicle must also pass the remainder of the IIHS' crash tests, in addition to evaluations of its crash-prevention systems and headlights. It's important to note that this is just the first group of inductees -- as the IIHS continues testing other new models, the list may grow to cover even more vehicles.
For now, Subaru is the automaker with the most Top Safety Pick+ awards at seven, and the only exception (Forester) picked up Top Safety Pick. All three of Genesis' vehicles have Top Safety Pick+, as well. Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Lexus each have three vehicles with Top Safety Pick+.
Some vehicles were luckier than others, though. Thanks to that new test, some cars just barely missed the mark. The Chrysler Pacifica, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Kicks, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander just missed Top Safety Pick+ because of Acceptable ratings in either headlight evaluations or the passenger-side small overlap test. If automakers issue updates to address this, they're welcome to resubmit the cars to the IIHS for additional testing.
Here's the full list of cars with IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2019. You can check the IIHS' site to see the Top Safety Pick winners, as well:
- Hyundai Sonata
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru Outback
- Toyota Camry
Midsize luxury cars
- Toyota Avalon (built after Sept. 2018)
Large luxury cars
- Hyundai Kona
- Mazda CX-5
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Kia Sorento
- Subaru Ascent
Midsize luxury SUVs
- BMW X3
- Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
- Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Recalls: Stay up to date on vehicle safety.
: See why base trims get the shaft, according to the IIHS.