62 models meet tougher criteria to earn IIHS awards

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

Two vehicle manufacturers-Hyundai and Subaru-garnered the lion's share of the highest-level safety awards for 2018 presented by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"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.

IIHS in October began evaluating the passenger side of vehicles in its small overlap front crash test after it said it became clear that automakers were neglecting that side of the vehicle as they focused on improving driver-side protections.

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

Another 47 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick designation, where Toyota had 10 vehicle models, with Hyundai recognized for nine models. It was this test that caused the significant drop in the number of vehicles earning the top rating.

"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", said IIHS President Adrian Lund.

The Top Safety Pick+ winners are listed below. The institute also tests headlight systems where IIHS engineers measure the reach of a vehicle's headlights on straight roads and on curves. Check out the full list of models that qualify.

While automakers are claiming that kind of technology will be standard equipment in the near future, it won't be in all cases so if you are driving one of the "Top Pick Plus" vehicles, you may be simply driving its lower-priced, and lower rated, sibling instead. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety.

The 2018 list of the safest vehicles is out, and just 15 earned the highest rating, down from 69 past year.

IIHS is placing more emphasis on the impact of headlights on the safety rating of new vehicles.

Subaru had the most Safety Pick+ vehicles. By fall of 2017, 69 vehicles had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 51 had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK.

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