66 Vehicles Win IIHS 2011 Top Safety Pick Award

66 Vehicles Win IIHS 2011 Top Safety Pick Award

It’s a banner year for safety, as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) doled out its Top Safety Pick award for 2011 to 66 vehicles – double that of last year.

The list of recipients, which includes 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and a minivan, were picked based on their ability to protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Vehicles must have electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk to earn this honor. The IIHS ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require.

And making it onto this year’s list was quite the feat, as the IIHS toughened its criteria for Top Safety Pick. This time around, vehicles had to earn a good rating for performance in a roof strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. At first, this new criteria cut the list of potential 2010 winners, with only 27 vehicles qualifying for the award. But the number grew to 58 as auto manufacturers reworked existing designs and introduced new models. Now another 10 vehicles join the winners’ list for 2011.

The front runners of this year’s awards go to Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi who each have 9 winners for 2011. Following with 8 awards apiece are General Motors, Ford/Lincoln, and Toyota/Lexus/Scion. Subaru is the only manufacturer with a winner in all the vehicle classes in which it competes, earning 5 awards for 2011.

Take a look at the list of winners after the jump and we’d like to offer our congrats to all the vehicles that made it to the top.

[Source: IIHS]

Large cars Buick LaCrosse Buick Regal BMW 5 series (except 4-wheel drive and V8) Cadillac CTS sedan Ford Taurus Hyundai Genesis Infinite M37/M56 (except M56x 4-wheel drive) Lincoln MKS Mercedes E class coupe Mercedes E class sedan Toyota Avalon Volvo S80

Midsize cars Audi A3 Audi A4 sedan Chevrolet Malibu Chrysler 200 4-door Dodge Avenger Ford Fusion Hyundai Sonata Kia Optima Lincoln MKZ Mercedes C class Subaru Legacy Subaru Outback Volkswagen Jetta sedan Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Volvo C30

Small cars Chevrolet Cruze Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control Kia Forte sedan Kia Soul Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive) Nissan Cube Scion tC Scion xB Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback (except WRX) Volkswagen Golf 4-door Volkswagen GTI 4-door

Minicar Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback built after July 2010

Minivan Toyota Sienna

Large SUV Volkswagen Touareg

Midsize SUVs Audi Q5 Cadillac SRX Chevrolet Equinox Dodge Journey Ford Explorer Ford Flex GMC Terrain Hyundai Santa Fe Jeep Grand Cherokee Kia Sorento built after March 2010 Lexus RX Lincoln MKT Mercedes GLK Subaru Tribeca Toyota Highlander Toyota Venza Volvo XC60 Volvo XC90

Small SUVs Honda Element Hyundai Tucson Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags Kia Sportage Subaru Forester Volkswagen Tiguan