IIHS announces 2017 Top Safety Picks

A total of 82 models qualified for either the Top Safety Pick or the Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Arlington, Virginia — December 11, 2016 — The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its 2017 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ lists. Good or acceptable ratings in the Institute’s new headlight evaluations set the latest crop of qualifiers apart. A total of 38 models earned the “plus” accolade, and 44 earned Top Safety Pick.

IIHS toughened the criteria for Top Safety Pick+ to reflect new headlight evaluations launched in 2016. The recognition program is meant to encourage manufacturers to offer state-of-the-art protection for people in crashes, along with features that help drivers avoid crashes in the first place. In addition to good or acceptable headlights, the latter includes automatic braking technology, which has been part of the criteria since 2015.

“The field of contenders is smaller this year because so few vehicles have headlights that do their job well, but it’s not as small as we expected when we decided to raise the bar for the awards,” says Adrian Lund, IIHS President. “Manufacturers are focusing on improving this basic safety equipment, and we’re confident that the winners’ list will grow as the year progresses.”

For both awards, models must earn good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention with standard or optional autobrake. Headlights are factored in only for the top award.

IIHS launched headlight ratings in the spring after finding that standards based on laboratory tests allow for huge variation in the amount of illumination headlights provide in on-road driving. Nighttime visibility is critical to highway safety because about half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk.

In the Institute’s evaluations, engineers measure how far light is projected from a vehicle’s low beams and high beams as the vehicle travels straight and on curves. Glare from low beams for oncoming drivers also is measured. Vehicles equipped with high-beam assist, which automatically switches between high beams and low beams depending on the presence of other vehicles, can get extra credit.

IIHS evaluations show that a vehicle’s price tag doesn’t correspond to the quality of headlights. More modern lighting types, including high-intensity discharge (HID) and LED lamps, and curve-adaptive systems, which swivel in the direction of steering, also are no guarantee of good performance.

2017 Top Safety Pick+

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good or acceptable headlight rating.

Small cars

   Chevrolet Volt

   Hyundai Elantra

   sedan only; built after March 2016

   Mazda 3

   4-door sedan | 4-door hatchback

   Toyota Corolla

   Toyota Prius

   built after August 2016

Midsize cars

   Honda Accord 4-door

   Mazda 6

   Nissan Altima

   Nissan Maxima

   Subaru Legacy

   Subaru Outback

   Toyota Camry

   Toyota Prius v

   Volkswagen Jetta

Midsize luxury cars

   Audi A4

   Lexus ES 350

   Volvo S60

   Volvo V60

Large luxury cars

   Genesis G80

   Genesis G90

   Lexus RC

Small SUVs

   Mazda CX-3

   Mitsubishi Outlander

   Nissan Rogue

   Subaru Forester

   Toyota RAV4

Midsize SUVs

   Honda Pilot

   Hyundai Santa Fe

   built after March 2016

Midsize luxury SUVs

   Acura MDX

   Acura RDX

   Audi Q5

   Buick Envision

   Lexus NX

   Lexus RX

   Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

   Volvo XC60


   Chrysler Pacifica

   built after August 2016

Large pickup

   Honda Ridgeline

2017 Top Safety Pick

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.


   Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-door

   Toyota Yaris iA

Small cars

   Acura ILX

   Honda Civic 2-door

   Honda Civic 4-door

   Lexus CT 200h

   Nissan Sentra

   Subaru Crosstrek

   Subaru WRX

   Volkswagen Golf 4-door

   Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

   Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen

   Volkswagen GTI 4-door

Midsize cars

   Chevrolet Malibu

   Chrysler 200

   Ford Fusion

   Honda Accord 2-door

   Hyundai Sonata

   Kia Optima

   Volkswagen Passat

Midsize luxury cars

   Audi A3

   BMW 2 series

   Lincoln MKZ

   Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4-door

Large car

   Toyota Avalon

Large luxury cars

   Acura RLX

   Audi A6

   Infiniti Q70

   Volvo S90

Small SUVs

   BMW X1

   Fiat 500X

   Hyundai Tucson

   Kia Sportage

Midsize SUVs

   GMC Acadia

   Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

   Kia Sorento

   Nissan Murano

   Nissan Pathfinder

Midsize luxury SUVs

   Cadillac XT5

   Infiniti QX60

   Lincoln MKX

   Volvo XC90

Large SUV

   Audi Q7


   Kia Sedona

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