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 |  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.”

 |  Aug 18 2010, 8:59 AM

Luxury can also be safe. The latest vehicle to win an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award is the Cadillac SRX, a midsize luxury SUV. It earned the IIHS’s top safety designation after getting a good rating for rollover protection. The Cadillac SRX had previously earned good ratings for front, side, and rear crash protection.

To earn a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn the highest ratings in all four IIHS safety evaluations, as well as have electronic stability control (this comes standard on the SRX).

In order to evaluate rollover protection, the IIHS uses research of real-world crashes to conduct its roof strength test. To test for roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle’s roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5-inches of crush is compared to the vehicle’s weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This test gives a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes. Good rated vehicles have roofs that can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle’s weight.

The 2010 SRX withstood a force equal to 4.14 times weight. For comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight.

For the 2010 model year, General Motors strengthened the roof structure. The Top Safety Pick award applies to models built after May 2010.

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]