The coming year will be the first that required a good or acceptable rating for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small-overlap test, which measures how well front seat passengers are protected in frontal collisions, according to Consumer Reports, and many cars did not meet those new criteria to earn the top rating. The new Camry outdid them all by earning the Top Safety Pick+ award, the IIHS's highest distinction and one much harder to earn in 2018.
Fifteen vehicles qualified for the Top Safety Pick Plus Award from the institute after the requirements were strengthened to include good-rated headlights and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes.
"We're pleased to have so many vehicles recognized by IIHS, especially with the completely redesigned 2018 Camry receiving its highest safety award", said Chris Nielsen, executive vice president of product support and chief quality officer of Toyota Motor North America.
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"Most drivers when they buy a vehicle they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are".
Twelve cars and three SUVs earned the top rating, with another 47 models earning "Top Safety Pick" designations. It began measuring both how well low and high beams illuminated the road and the amount of glare they produce for oncoming vehicles as part of its ratings in 2016. Models from a wider range of vehicle types earn TOP SAFETY PICK, but there are no minicars in that category either. The Crosstrek and the Forester earn TOP SAFETY PICK, also with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights. The sole Subaru model that did not qualify was the BRZ. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety. Automakers have committed to making this technology standard by 2022.
Headlights that effectively light up the road are another area where the IIHS has raised its standards. If the pattern holds, they'll have to score a good rating next year to make the 2019 list.