This Year's Highest Raters in IIHS Safety Crash Tests

2018 Subaru Outback Crash Test IIHS

Fifteen model year 2018 cars and SUVs earned the highest safety honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The safety advocacy group, which performs a variety of crash tests on vehicles, added two new tests in the past year: one for improved headlights, which was included in the 2017 "Top Pick Plus" ranking, but not in the "Top Pick" results, and the new passenger-side small overlap front crash.

Crash tests have always been a key element in how the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety rates vehicles.

Subaru had four vehicles earn the IIHS "Top Pick Plus" safety designation.


The institute rates front crash prevention by conducting low- and moderate-speed track tests of vehicles with automatic braking systems.

"We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side, but we weren't seeing that kind of improvement for passengers, said IIHS president Adrian Lund".

In contrast, headlights weren't factored in for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK, and an acceptable headlight rating was enough to bump a 2017 award victor into "plus" territory. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru's lineup, the BRZ, qualified for one of the awards. With 15 of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection. In order to meet the top ranking, and in some instances, simply being a "Top Pick", the vehicle must be upgraded. The highly-rated headlights, for example, do not come standard on base models and many vehicles lack crash avoidance technology. Automakers have committed to making this technology standard by 2022.

The full list of Top Safety Pick winners is available here. By fall of 2017, 69 vehicles had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 51 had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK. "All automakers now recognize the important role of safety in consumer choice, and they are increasingly receptive to working with our engineers to understand the next steps in keeping people from harm in motor vehicle crashes and to make real changes in their vehicle designs".

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