The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Top Safety Pick award distinctions to 49 cars this year, also giving additional 41 models, bringing the number of winners to a total of 90 cars this year. Despite having this many winners are not that easy to earn. This year the competition was between small cars, small SUVs, midsize cars, midsize SUVs, midsize Luxury Cars & SUVs, Large & Large Luxury Cars & SUVs, and the premiere – minivans.
There are specific conditions to be granted with such an important award. First of all, the nominees must score a good rating in the institute’s nine crash tests, amongst them a vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation, and a crucial good headlight across the range. At least the trim level is not important for a Top Safety Pick+ award.
Manufacturers actually met the challenge and improved their weak points to ensure an award in their portfolio. The top of the winners is led by Hyundai Group (Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis) with 12 Top Safety Pick distinctions and 5 Pick+ - chart led by Volvo, with 9 distinctions. Other winners are Honda Odyssey, Toyota Senna. This year, the Ram 500 pickup also won a Top Safety Pick and is the only winner from Stellantis (the merged company between Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot).
The Top Pick+ every year introduces new crash tests and crash avoidance criteria before claiming them as part of the requirements for the basic regular Top Safety Pick. For example, the headlights requirement became part of the list starting in 2017, when it was decided that most cars have accidents during the night traffic due to the bag headlights clearance.
When other manufacturers, then the vehicle ones started to show real improvements in the development of better headlights and less glare, IIHS decided to encourage and accepted minivans, pickups as participants in the competition. Despite the plentitude of winners, Mitsubishi didn’t win any awards. Compared to last year’s 23 participants, 2021 shows safer cars for each driver. You can see all the winners here.
Watch the video and see IIHS's crash tests.