Hyundai and Subaru Earn the Most IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2018

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"We're pleased to have so many vehicles recognized by IIHS, especially with the completely redesigned 2018 Camry receiving its highest safety award".

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its latest list of the safest vehicles. Fifteen of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection.

Safety tests this year included a passenger-side crash test, a first for the IIHS award.

Twelve cars and three SUVs earned the top rating, with another 47 models earning "Top Safety Pick" designations.

"Automakers have really come to grips with the fact that safety is an important component of consumer choice, and they are working hard to meet the criteria", Lund said, USA Today reported. Toyota has 10 model-year 2018 vehicles on the Top Safety Pick list, and Hyundai represented with nine.

"Toyota and Lexus remain committed to providing safe and reliable vehicles and we're proud to have Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System+ as standard equipment on nearly every new model in our line-up".

To qualify for the rating, vehicles needed to earn a headlight rating of "good", and a "good" or "acceptable" rating for the passenger-side small overlap front test.

Every Subaru model except the BRZ coupe earned the rating.

"We developed this test when it became clear that some manufacturers were not paying attention to the passenger side", said Adrian Lund, IIHS president.

However, there is a problem with the rankings overall. For instance, automatic braking is a key requirement for the getting the "Top Pick Plus" rating, and in most vehicles, that comes at a significant price increase.

The group crashed brand new vehicles at speeds of 40 miles per hour in the pursuit of safety.

Headlights also had to perform to standards in another new test in order to earn top ratings.

Lund said Toyota leads the way in making crash avoidance technology standard equipment.