Crashing Upwards: Seven vehicles from BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota earn top 2023 safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Toronto, Ontario – With an increased awareness of crash test safety, more stringent testing means IIHS awards are now tougher to achieve. However, BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota have made the 2023 crash-test-cut. 

Of the seven vehicles tested from the four automakers, the highest Top Safety Pick+ award went to the 2023 BMW X3; to the 2024 Mazda CX-90 and CX-90 PHEV (plug-in hybrid); and to the 2023 Toyota Prius and Prius Prime. 

The next award down, the Top Safety Pick, went to the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander and the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross. 

The IIHS performs four crash tests using a dummy with a realistic neck and spine. These tests include those for moderate overlap front, driver-side, passenger-side overlap and side impact. In 2022, the moderate front overlap test was updated with the addition of a buckled-in dummy behind the driver to assess rear passenger injury. 

Further tests are performed on crash-prevention systems such as those that identify braking for pedestrians, headlight indicators, seat belt reminders and child-seat attachment hardware. 

To qualify for a Top Pick in 2023, a vehicle must earn the top “Good” rating in the small overlap category and a “Good” or “Acceptable” rating in the side test category. 

Furthermore, headlights that rate “Good” or “Acceptable” must be standard across all trims, and the front crash prevention system must earn “Advanced” or “Superior” in a daytime evaluation of vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention system. 

To rate the superior Pick+ designation, the vehicle must earn “Good” only in the updated side test, and “Advanced” or “Superior” ratings for vehicle-to-pedestrian in both daytime and nighttime tests.

The IIHS tests vehicles it purchases from dealers and is only reimbursed if an automaker has requested a test that’s outside the IIHS’s regular testing requirements. 

In a previous report, the IIHS documented that fewer than half of the vehicles which achieved  a top award in 2022 have repeated it for 2023. This lapse is primarily due to the 2022 changes in regulations, and with safety regulations always updating, it is also not uncommon. 

While “Good” or “Acceptable” in the new side test is enough to earn a Top Safety Pick for 2023, only “Good” will qualify in 2024. As well, to earn a Top Safety Pick+ in 2024, a vehicle will have to earn “Good” or “Acceptable” in the new moderate front overlap – the one that adds a rear-seat dummy – and expect that to go to “Good”-only in future as well.


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