Five new vehicles have been awarded a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they are the Honda Civic (sedan and coupe), Volvo XC60, Lincoln MKZ and the Mazda6.
The 2013 Honda Civic, the first small car to receive the + designation, received front end updates in its newest iteration to help it achieve better crash test results. The XC60 also got improved safety thanks to new airbag algorithms that allow the car to deploy the side curtain airbags in the event of small impact testing.
The top safety pick + is awarded to cars that score the top rating for occupant protection in at least 4 of 5 evaluations. The small overlap collision test is the newest to be introduced into the program, and it replicates the front corner of a car colliding with another vehicle or an object like a tree or light pole.
The IIHS tests include a moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, side impact and rollover, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.