The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is recognizing 49 models for providing the highest level of safety this year, which is more than double the number that earned its Top Safety Pick+ rating in 2020. Meanwhile, an additional 41 vehicles received a 2021 IIHS Top Safety Pick award, even though the organization has toughened its standards over the last year. Of the 90 total vehicles honored for 2021, Ford and Lincoln accounted for five.
Both awards require good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests – driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. Award winners must be available with front crash prevention that earns a superior or advanced rating in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.
Top safety pick winners must be available with good or acceptable headlights. The “plus” designation is given to models that have good or acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages.
Among all automakers, Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands) earned the most 2021 IIHS Top Safety Pick awards, with 10 regular Top Safety Picks and five Top Safety Pick+ honors. Mitsubishi was the only automaker that failed to earn a single award, while General Motors brought home a mere one of each.
IIHS has been using a two-tier award system since 2013 as a way to phase in new requirements that may be tough for all manufacturers to meet immediately. Over the years, IIHS has used Top Safety Pick+ to introduce new crash tests and crash avoidance criteria before making them part of the requirements for the regular Top Safety Pick award.
“With these awards, we want to make it easy for consumers to find vehicles that provide good protection in crashes, sufficient lighting, and effective front crash protection,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “Manufacturers have stepped up to meet the challenge, and the list of great options has grown to an impressive size this year.”