Safety Ratings for Cars by the IIHS Keep Getting Tougher

Safety Ratings for Cars in 2014 Stay on Top of New Technology and New Standards

In 2009, to commemorate its 50th anniversary, the IIHS test crashed a 1959 Chevy Bel-Air. The results weren’t pretty—in fact, they were far worse than early minivans, the previous all-time worst scorers. The Bel-Air test vividly illustrated how far automobile safety has come in just two generations, in part spurred by the constant research and testing conducted by the IIHS.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its 2014 safety ratings for cars, which carries on the trend of higher safety standards in the IIHS rating system. The IIHS’s already tough criteria have been upgraded for the third time in eight years.
Today, the IIHS crash tests most new vehicles and gives comprehensive safety ratings for each model in 6 categories:

  • Moderate Overlap Frontal Test exposes 40% of a car’s front end to a 40 mph impact
  • Small Overlap Frontal Test exposes 25% of a car’s front end to a 40 mph impact
  • Side Crash Test measures damage caused by an SUV-sized vehicle
  • Head Restraint Test evaluates the impact of 20 mph rear-end collisions
  • Roof Strength Test tests the damage caused by a rollover
  • Frontal Collision Avoidance Test (new for 2014) evaluates front crash protection systems

The IIHS evaluates car safety using four standard ratings: good, acceptable, marginal, and poor. A driver in a good car is 46% less likely to experience serious injury than a driver in a poor car. In general, larger vehicles provide more protection to passengers in collisions than smaller vehicles. The IIHS’s side crash test evaluates how a vehicle stands up to a collision with a much larger vehicle.

Like last year, the IIHS awards two top safety picks, one more demanding than the other. This year, 22 models were awarded the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus Award, compared to only 13 in 2013. The effects of the tougher criteria are even more striking in the Top Safety Pick Award category. Only 17 cars were awarded the IIHS’s most basic safety recommendation, compared to 117 in 2013.

Find the Safest Vehicle from the Top IIHS Safety Ratings for Cars for 2014

To earn the Top Safety Pick Award, a vehicle has to pass the moderate front, side, roof, and head restraint tests with good ratings and the overlap front test with moderate ratings. Top Safety Pick Plus Award is restricted to vehicles that have frontal collision avoidance systems that pass the test with basic, advanced, or superior ratings.

This year’s Top Safety Pick Plus winners, which all have optional front collision prevention systems, include some of the most popular vehicles on the market. Here is the complete list, from Small Cars to Midsize Luxury SUVs and Minivans:

  • 2014 Honda Civic 4-door
  • 2014 Mazda 3
  • 2014 Toyota Prius
  • 2014 Ford Fusion
  • 2014 Honda Accord 2-door
  • 2014 Honda Accord 4-door
  • 2014 Mazda 6
  • 2014 Subaru Legacy
  • 2014 Subaru Outback
  • 2014 Infinity Q50
  • 2014 Lincoln MKZ
  • 2014 Volvo S60
  • 2014 Acura RLX
  • 2014 Volvo S80
  • 2014 Mazda CX-5
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Subaru Forester
  • 2014 Toyota Highlander
  • 2014 Acura MDX
  • 2014 Mercedes M class
  • 2014 Mercedes XC60
  • 2014 Honda Odyssey

Click here for a complete list of IIHS 2014 safety ratings award winners


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