Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Releases Latest List of Safest Vehicles

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

IIHS Names 15 Safest Cars For You To Drive In 2018

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its top vehicle safety picks for 2018.

The models that earned the top ranking for 2018 so far are the BMW 5 Series, Kia Forte sedan, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, Lincoln Continental, Kia Soul, Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Subaru WRX, and Toyota Camry, according to Consumer Reports.

Fifteen vehicles earned the group's highest award of Top Safety Pick+, which is lower than a year ago. The sole Subaru model that did not qualify was the BRZ.

Of the hundreds of auto models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions.

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Hyundai led the way with six winners while Subaru followed with four Top Safety Pick+ honors. Most of winners for both awards qualified on the basis of optional upgrades.

The organization has long used crash tests as a key element for rating vehicles, including hits to the front driver's side, but this year the institute added a new test: crashes to the front on the passenger side.

The new passenger-side small overlap test marks the first time IIHS has focused a crash test on the front passenger's safety. The list doesn't include any minivans, pickups or minicars, which don't appear on either list of awardees. However, IIHS notes that the vast majority of the award-winners qualify only when optionally equipped because front crash prevention systems and acceptable or good headlights aren't often part of the base trims. It's similar to the existing small front overlap test, a rigorous evaluation that crashes a vehicle into a barrier at 40 miles per hour with just 25 percent of the driver-side front end striking the obstacle.

The first official passenger-side ratings were released in October, following research tests past year. With 15 of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection. Adrian Lund, president, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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