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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Dec 16 2011, 12:30 AM

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s awards can make or break a car’s future, something Subaru and Volvo know quite well.

Both manufacturers get to tout top honors in 2012 thanks to their safety-conscious cars. Subaru is now the only manufacturer that can claim IIHS Top Safety Picks for every one of their models.

Subaru won five awards in total to earn those bragging rights. ”It’s tough to win, and we commend Subaru for making safety a top priority,” said Institute president Adrian Lund.

Bragging rights aside, there is another safety king in the ring and despite not scoring top picks on all their models, Volvo still managed to swing the same five awards.

Safety is a key concern for both companies, but Volvo has long been the industry leader in packing their cars with innovative features meant to keep passengers out of harm.

They were the first company to introduce blind spot detection and are crediting this year’s wins to their innovative City Safety technology. At low speeds it offers an automatic braking feature that the IIHS found to reduce collisions by as much as 22 percent.

Volvo achieved the most Top Safety Picks of any luxury brand, beating out Audi, Acura, Infiniti, Lexus and BMW. Mercedes-Benz tied Volvo for first in the luxury segment, also garnering five awards.

 |  Dec 15 2011, 10:15 PM


In a display of continuing safety advancements in automobiles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that more vehicles have earned the “top safety pick” this year after manufacturers have strengthened the roofs of their vehicles to improve its rollover safety.

Sixty-nine cars, thirty-eight SUVs, five minivans, and three pickups made the “top safety pick” list after passenger safety crashes to the front, side and rear, as well as rollover.

Toyota Motor Corp and Subaru especially excelled as Toyota’s list of top safety pick vehicles grew by three– the Yaris, Camry and Prius hybrid. Subaru is the only automaker to have its entire 2012 line-up earn the highest grade.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Dec 15 2011, 5:45 PM

Making its way on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick for 2012 is the all-new Buick Verano. This raises General Motors IIHS Top Safety Pick award count to 14 in 2012 – not too shabby.

Equipped with 10 standard air bags, the Verano came out with a good score in the IIHS tests for front and side crash tests, roof strength test, and rear impact test. The Verano also features standard electronic stability control, which the IIHS requires for Top Safety Pick designation.

“GM set a goal that every new product would be designed to meet or exceed the third-party metrics that IIHS and others use to communicate crash worthiness to consumers,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety. “We are now seeing the results from that commitment.”

Of the GM vehicles that made it to IIHS’s 2012 Top Safety Pick award list, 13 models had previously qualified for the 2011 award. These vehicles were carried over to 2012 because its structure is substantially the same as the IIHS tested for 2011. Carrying over for 2012 awards are the Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Enclave; the Chevrolet Cruze, Sonic, Volt, Equinox, Malibu and Traverse; the Cadillac CTS (sedan) and SRX, and GMC Terrain and Acadia.

 |  Nov 08 2011, 7:00 PM

Congratulations are in order for Volkswagen. The Routan has just earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, making it the ninth Volkswagen vehicle to receive this rating. This also means that Volkswagen has received the highest number of IIHS awards for vehicle safety.

Helping them reach this coveted spot, Volkswagen scored high marks with 2011 models including Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, CC, Passat, Tiguan, Touareg, Golf and GTI. To drive away with a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn a rating of Good in the IIHS crash-test series, which includes front, side and rear crash tests, as well as pass the roof-strength test. That means that these VW vehicles provide the best overall protection in the most common accident situations.

“We’re delighted that the Routan has been given this prestigious award. We are even more delighted that Volkswagen now leads the American automotive industry with nine Top Safety Picks,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This is the reward for all the hard work we continually put in the development of new technologies for our cars.”

 |  Nov 03 2011, 2:17 PM

The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Volkswagen Routan all earned Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

These vehicles, which all share the same structure, earned high marks when it came to providing  protection in rollover crashes, garnering the highest rating of Good in front-, side-, rollover- and rear-crash protection. These three minivans join the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna as Top Safety Picks.

Two vehicles that didn’t make the grade were the Kia Sedona and Nissan Quest minivans. These vehicles didn’t fair very well when it came to the rollover category, but earned Good scores in all the other tests. Overall, the Sedona earned a Poor rollover rating while the Quest achieved an Acceptable score.

“Safety-conscious parents shopping for a family hauler should be pleased with today’s minivan choices,” said David Zuby, the Institute’s chief research officer. “At the same time, the ratings show that major differences remain in this segment when it comes to protection in a rollover crash.”

To determine rollover protection, the strength of a vehicle’s roof is measured by pushing a metal plate against the roof at a constant speed. To earn a Good rating, a vehicle has to be able to withstand up to four times its weight. The 2012 Town & Country had a strength-to-weight ratio of 4.51, while the Sedona had a rating of 2.31 and the Quest had a rating of 3.36.

[Source: IIHS]

 |  Sep 29 2011, 8:15 AM


A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed a significant drop in fatalities involving accidents between a car or a minivan versus an SUV of comparable weight.

By comparing two sample sets, one used to record the number of crashes involving SUVs registered in 2000-2001 and another to record SUVs from 2008-2009, IIHS discovered that fatalities have decreased from 44 deaths per million registered vehicles to a dramatically improved 16 deaths per million. Only SUVs and trucks weighing between 3,000 to 3,499 pounds were recognized for the study.

Specialists have concluded that the positive findings have the continuing innovations on safety to thank. Late model cars and minivans possess more effective crumple zones, stronger structures, as well as curtain airbags. Preemptive sensors such as lane departure and blind spot warnings also improve a driver’s odds of avoiding an accidentally completely.

Newer SUVs and pickups have also lowered their crumple structures to better align with cars, allowing optimal energy absorption before violent forces from the crash enter into the passenger cabin.

 |  Aug 04 2011, 7:00 PM

The 2011 Dodge Durango was awarded the Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The SUV earned the award based on receiving a score of ‘good’ in front, side, rollover and rear crash tests.

The Dodge Durango implements advances to offer 45 safety and security featuers aiding drivers in vulnerable situations as well as keeping drivers safe when accidents occur.

“The performance of the Durango means buyers are getting the best protection in the most common kinds of crashes, and electronic stability control for avoiding many crashes altogether,” IIHS President Adrian Lund said.

The Durango can now join the line of other Top Safety Pick winners including the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 200 sedan, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Journey and Jeep Patriot.

Check out the crash test after the jump!

Continue Reading…

 |  Jul 08 2011, 12:00 PM

Another one joins the list! And this time around, it’s the Saab 9-4X, a new midsize luxury SUV, that’s taken its place on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award list.

To earn this top safety designation, the 9-4X had to earn a rating of good in the IIHS’s front, side, and rollover evaluations (this was based on good performances for its structural twin, the Cadillac SRX). A good rating was also secured for protection in rear-end crashes (a separate rear impact test was conducted for the seats/head restraints.

To earn a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles need to earn the highest ratings in all four Institute safety evaluations, as well as have electronic stability control.

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Saab 9-4X Review

 |  Jun 12 2011, 4:06 PM

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has confirmed what all of those Ford Explorer drivers thought all along: SUV drivers are least likely to die in a crash.

But all that mass is dangerous! What about all those rollovers? Well, with the advent of electronic stability control (already mandatory on U.S. cars) to prevent the sort of rollovers that plagued the Explorer all through the 90s, the SUV now has the least driver death rates among car types. Size does matter, it seems, and despite modern advances in safety, small cars are still perilously dangerous.

The death rate for SUVs is half that of cars, says the report. The number of SUV drivers killed fell 66 percent in between model generations, from 82 per million vehicles in 1999-2002 to 28/million in 2005-2008. ”The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case, thanks to ESC,” said Anne McCartt, the IIHS’s senior vice president for research.

Enthusiasts may decry stability control and SUVs in general, but it’s something we’ll have to admit: the two make for a pretty safe combination. And unlike Richard S. Foster’s prediction, we didn’t even have to sacrifice our MGBs. Hopefully.

[Source: Inside Line]

 |  May 26 2011, 11:47 AM

Nissan has had a successful year with the Nissan Juke, Cube, Leaf and Infiniti M37/56  on the list of 2011 top safety picks. Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2011 Nissan Juke a “Top Safety Pick” rating. The Juke earned this award by earning a “good” rating in front, rear and side impact protection, coupled with electronic stability control as well as good roof strength.

“Nissan’s commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in the Nissan Juke receiving the Top Safety Pick from IIHS,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “The Nissan Juke has a unique combination of motorsports-inspired design and unexpected levels of technology and safety features– all with a starting MSRP under $19,000.”

All 2011 Juke models come equipped with the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags as well as seat belt and occupant classification sensors. There are also roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection. There are also seat mounted driver and front passendger side-impact supplemental air bags and front-seat Active Head Restraints. Other standard equipment includes LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

Check out our review of the Nissan Juke, and for more info.

 |  May 13 2011, 1:58 PM

Given their high center of gravity and the questionable driving abilities of some people, pickup trucks are more often likely to end on their roof than cars and some crossovers. As a result, having a truck that scores high in roof strength tests would seem to be a bonus right?

Well, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, out of the current crop of 1/2 ton full-size offerings, the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra have the best chance of protecting their occupants in the event of  a rollover.

During a test conducted by the institute, where a large plate of steel is pressed against the corner of the roof, the Tundra was able to support 4.5 times its own weight; the F-150 4.7 times. According to the IIHS a vehicle must be able to survive the equivalent of up to four times its weight in pressure, in order to qualify for a ‘good’ rating.

Of the other full-size pickups tested; Nissan’s Titan earned an ‘acceptable’ rating, while the GM twins, the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, plus the Ram 1500, netted just ‘marginal’ ratings.

 |  May 10 2011, 2:00 PM

Drum roll please! Making its way onto the prestigious Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award is the redesigned 2011 Lincoln MKX. This designation only applies 2011 MKX’s built after February 2011.

The 2011 MKX is in good company – it joins the Lincoln MKS flagship sedan, MKT three-row premium utility and MKZ luxury sedan. To earn the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick, vehicles must have a earn a “good” rating offset frontal-, side- and rear-impact crash tests and roof strength evaluations, and they must also come with standard electronic stability control. Adding to their safety, all Lincoln models feature a number of safety technologies such as advanced radar warning systems. The 2011 MKX features a solid unibody construction, which provides an energy-absorbing structure to help protect occupants, as well as bumper-to-bumper flow-through side rails, structural design and A-pillars, all of which are designed to better manage crash energy.

“New Lincoln models feature some of the most innovative safety technologies, and we are delighted that all are now rated ‘Top Safety Picks’ by the IIHS,” said Scott Tobin, director, Lincoln Product Development. “Prestige and safety go hand in hand, and this is proof that Lincoln offers safety as another compelling reason to buy.”

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Lincoln MKX Review

 |  May 01 2011, 8:58 PM


The roads just got a little safer, because the Hyundai Equus just earned a 2011 Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Earning top ratings from the IIHS’s evaluation, the luxury sedan scored good for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and it also has electronic stability control (another requirement to winning the award). It also passed the roof strength test for rollover protection – it withstood a force equal to 4.87 times the car’s weight. To earn a good rating for the IIHS’s roof strength test, vehicles must have a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher (in comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight).

GALLERY: Hyundai Equus


[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]

 |  Apr 26 2011, 7:57 AM

Thinking of buying one of the greenest vehicles on the market, but not sure if safe for the environment also translates into safety for you and yours? That’s no longer an issue and the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests have just come in for the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf with both electrified cars achieving a Top Safety Pick award.

What that means is that the cars earned a ‘Good’ rating in front, side, rear and rollover crashes – undergoing the same rigorous tests that regular cars do.

The Leaf and Volt now join a list of 80 other Top Safety Pick vehicles for the 2011 model year.

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Chevy Volt review here.

 |  Apr 25 2011, 2:30 PM

If you don’t succeed, try, try again. And that’s just what Ford did – when the 2011 Edge and Lincoln MKX didn’t make the cut for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, they made improvements to roof strength, and finally got the thumbs up from the IIHS.

These midsize SUVs jumped from acceptable to good for roof strength in rollover crashes to earn the Top Safety pick award. In order to pick up this prize, vehicles must earn the top rating of good for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and they must have electronic stability control as a standard feature (ESC).

In the IIHS’s roof strength evaluation, the Edge and the Lincoln MKX withstood a force equal to 4.7 times the vehicles’ weight. To earn a good rating, vehicles must achieve a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher. Only models produced after February, 2011 can boast TSP certification.

[Source: IIHS]

 |  Apr 09 2011, 11:29 AM

Drum roll please! The 2011 Mazda 3 is the latest vehicle to make it as a Top Safety Pick, after earning the top rating of good for roof strength in rollover crashes, as well as for front, side, and rear crash protection.

The sedan/hatchback drove away with a Top Safety Pick in the small cars category. It’s the first Mazda to achieve this rating since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had changed its criteria, making it more difficult for vehicles to earn a good rating.

To rate the 4-door sedan and hatchback versions, the Mazda 3 had to go through two tests. The roof of the sedan withstood a force equal to 5.32 times the car’s weight, while the roof of the hatchback withstood a force equal to 5.09 times its weight. To earn a good rating in the IIHS test, vehicles must have a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher. The Mazda 3 also features electronic stability control (ESC), which comes standard on the 2011 model.

The award for the Mazda 3 only applies to those cars built after December 2010, as the automaker made changes to the roof structure to improve roof strength.

 |  Mar 29 2011, 6:38 PM

Another one makes the cut. Add the 2012 Volvo S60 to the list of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award winners. That means it earned good performance ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection. It also comes with standard electronic stability control (ESC), which is also needed to win this award.

It has been a few years since the S60 has picked up a Top Safety Pick. In previous years, the S60 sedan only earned good ratings in the Institute’s front and rear evaluations, but when it came to the side impact test, it was only rated acceptable (in previous models, they weren’t tested for roof strength in rollover crashes).

But that’s old news, and the good news is that the new model has made the grade when it came to testing side impact and roof strength tests. The IIHS found that the roof of the S60 withstood a force equal to 4.95 times the car’s weight. Right now, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight.

[Source: Autoblog]

 |  Mar 14 2011, 10:51 AM

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has bestowed their Top Safety Pick to the 2011 Honda Odyssey as well as the GM crossovers, which includes the Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GM Acadia.

The three GM vehicles all share the Lambda platform. The GMC Acadia was the guinea pig that ran the gamut of tests, and since the other two are built on the same platform, Buick and Chevrolet can also tout the award in their ad campaigns.

The Odyssey is only the second minivan to win the IIHS’s top award, next to the Toyota Sienna, and it did so by demonstrating great results during the new roof strength tests that were added to the criteria recently.

The GMC Acadia’s roof took four times its weight during testing, and the Odyssey five; the IIHS requires merely 1.5 times the roof’s own weight to pass.

[Source: Autoblog]

 |  Feb 04 2011, 3:06 PM

You may hate to get those annoying tickets in the mail, but the stats are in – red light cameras help save lives in the big cities around the U.S.

According to a new analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), red light cameras have saved 159 lives from 2004 to 2008 in 14 of the biggest U.S. cities. The IIHS goes on to say that 815 deaths would have been prevented if the cameras had been in place during that period in all large cities in the country.

“The cities that have the courage to use red light cameras despite the political backlash are saving lives,” says IIHS president Adrian Lund.

The IIHS came up with their findings after examining 99 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. They compared those with red light camera programs to those without. The researchers compared two periods – 2004-08 and 1992-96 – so they could see how the rate of fatal crashes changed after the introduction of cameras.

In their findings, the IIHS concluded that in the 14 cities that had cameras during 2004-08, the combined per capita rate of fatal red light running crashes fell 35 percent, compared with 1992-96. The rate of fatal red light running crashes also fell in the 48 cities without camera programs in either period, but only by 14 percent.

 |  Feb 03 2011, 8:50 PM

If you’re looking to feel safe of the roads, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the thumbs up to the 2011 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. These cars have driven away with the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick designations after achieving good ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection.

When a vehicle wins a Top Safety Pick award, it means that it has been recognized by the IIHS as offering the best overall crash protection. These vehicles must also come standard with electronic stability control (ESC), an important crash-avoidance feature.

To win this award, Chrysler brought its safety game to the table and really improved the safety of the 2011 Charger. It’s interesting to note that the last generation of the Charger and 300 earned the second lowest rating of ‘marginal’ for side impact protection (and that’s including the head-protecting side curtain airbags installed in the cars). This also marks the first time these vehicles have been rated in the Institute’s roof strength test for rollover protection – and they passed with flying colors. The roof of the Charger withstood a force equal to 5.37 times the car’s weight (the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight).

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Chrysler 300 Review Here

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Dodge Charger Review Here

 |  Jan 28 2011, 11:54 AM

It’s a five-star day for the 2011 Honda Odyssey, as the vehicle just earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) best-possible Overall Vehicle Score. And under NHTSA’s new system of safety ratings, the Odyssey is one of the first vehicles ever to earn five stars in each seating position for all three crash tests, each crash test category and the overall rating.

This is more great news for the Odyssey – it recently took home a top score of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But since it has yet to be tested for hood strength, it hasn’t earned a Top Safety Pick title.

Along with the 2011 Accord Sedan, the Odyssey is one of few vehicles to date that has earned the NHTSA’s best-possible five-star Overall Vehicle Score. It earned five-star ratings for the frontal crash safety test and both side crash safety tests in all evaluated front and rear seating positions and scenarios. Not one to rest on it laurels, the Odyssey went the extra mile to be awarded four stars for the rollover rating (this is the highest rating possible in the light-truck vehicle class using the NHTSA’s rating system).

The Overall Vehicle Score is a new addition to NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that is first being applied for the first time to 2011 models. The Overall Vehicle Score is the combined results of the overall ratings from the frontal crash tests, the side crash tests and the rollover-resistance into a single score between one and five stars.

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Honda Odyssey Review Here

 |  Dec 22 2010, 12:36 PM

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]

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 08 2010, 5:15 PM

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released their list of booster seats they do and do not recommend. On the recommended side, there’s been a significant growth this past year, with 21 Best Bets and seven Good Bets. Out of 72 booster seats the safety organization tested, eight booster seats didn’t get recommended.

For a booster seat to earn a Best Bet or Good Bet nod, it must properly position a three-point seat belt over a 6-year-old testing dummy. While performing these tests, IIHS experts measure seat-belt fit in a variety of vehicles. They also use high-back and backless booster seats as well as combination child-safety seats. The ratings do not take into account any type of crash tests.

According to the IIHS, children ages 4-8 who are placed in booster seats are 45 percent less likely to be injured in a car crash than children using only seat belts.

Read the lists of IIHS’ Best Bets, Good Bets and seats not recommended after the jump.

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 02 2010, 7:59 PM

The most recent vehicle to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award is the 2011 Buick Regal. This means that the Regal joins other winners including LaCrosse, Audi A4, Lincoln MKZ, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Genesis that also many the Top Safety Picks for 2010.

All Top Safety Picks must have good ratings in the front, side, rear, and roof strength tests, and electronic stability control must be available.

“The Buick Regal is not only catching the attention of consumers with its design and responsive driving performance but also by being a leader in its class for safety,” said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick Marketing.  “The IIHS Top Safety Pick Award acknowledges our commitment to offering our customers great safety systems that enhance their driving experience.”

One of the most important conditions to getting this award is the roof strength test. The Regal withstood a force equivalent to about five times its weight; the federal standard is one-and-a-half times the vehicle’s weight.