IIHS Ups Requirements for TOP SAFETY PICKs

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announcement

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is strengthening the requirements for its TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards in 2023, demanding better side crash protection and improved pedestrian crash prevention systems and eliminating subpar headlights from the field of qualifying vehicles.

As a result of the tougher criteria, only 48 models qualify for 2023 awards. Of those, 28 earn TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 20 earn TOP SAFETY PICK. This time last year, before changes to the award requirements, there were 101 winners, including 65 earning the higher-tier TOP SAFETY PICK+.

“The number of winners is smaller this year because we’re challenging automakers to build on the safety gains they’ve already achieved,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “These models are true standouts in both crashworthiness and crash prevention.”

Related post:
IIHS: AEB Less Effective at Night

The biggest change to the criteria for both awards is the replacement of the original IIHS side crash test with the updated evaluation launched in 2021. The updated test involves 82 percent more energy than the original test. Vehicles must earn an acceptable or good rating to qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK, while a good rating is required for the “plus.”

The IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ criteria include another new evaluation, the nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test. Advanced or superior performance is required in both the nighttime and daytime pedestrian tests for the higher award. For TOP SAFETY PICK, only a daytime rating of advanced or superior is required.

When it comes to headlights, requirements for the base award have gotten more stringent. Previously, a vehicle could qualify by offering at least one trim level with available acceptable or good headlights, while winners of the “plus” award needed to have them standard across all trims. For 2023, both awards require standard acceptable or good headlights.

As before, to earn either IIHS award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front and original moderate overlap front tests.

The roof strength, head restraint and vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention evaluations are no longer part of the award criteria.

Toyota Motor Corp., which includes the Toyota and Lexus brands, has the most 2023 awards overall and the most awards in each category — nine TOP SAFETY PICK+ and six TOP SAFETY PICK awards for a total of 15. Honda Motor Co., which includes the Acura and Honda brands, is next with six TOP SAFETY PICK+ and two TOP SAFETY PICK awards. Mazda earns six TOP SAFETY PICK awards.

By class, midsize luxury SUVs earn the most TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards, with nine, and small SUVs earn the most awards in total, with four TOP SAFETY PICK+ and eight TOP SAFETY PICK awards. However, vehicles of almost every size and class make the cut, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

To view the entire IIHS announcement and the list of TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners, click HERE.

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