The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has revealed the names of the 15 safest cars that got the highest rating of the Top Safety Pick+. IIHS this time focused on better headlights and solid performance in a new crash test as major criteria for the coveted rating.

Safest cars
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Safest cars list – not many American brands

Just twelve cars and three sports utility vehicles could pass the tests and get the rating of the Top Safety Pick+. Another 46 vehicles got “Top Safety Pick” honors. As IIHS continues the test, more vehicles will be included in the list. According to IIHS, they still have to review these models, and would release the rankings throughout 2018.

Korean, German and Japanese vehicles grabbed the top spots outperforming the American brands. The only American brand to make it to the Top Safety Pick+ category was Ford’s Lincoln Continental. In addition, the Chevy Volt was the only America car included in the Top Safety Pick segment, with the Buick Envision in the midsize luxury SUV group and the Chrysler Pacifica in the minivan group also making the grade.

Brands like Hyundai, Subaru and Kia bagged 10 out of 15 spots in the Top Safety Pick+ category. The other five vehicles that made the list were Mercedes-Benz E-Class and GLC, Lincoln Continental, Toyota Camry and BMW 5-series. Hyundai and its luxury brand Genesis had four vehicles on the list: Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Genesis G80 and G90. Kia had two: the Forte sedan and Soul. Subaru had four: Impreza, WRX, Legacy and Outback.

Auto industry changing for good

The auto industry has witnessed major improvements as they work to match the parameters set by the IIHS, said Consumer Reports, who rates and reviews vehicles as well. Car buyers are advised to refer to the crash safety ratings and consider dynamic performance like accident avoiding capabilities and braking distance when buying a new car, said Consumer Reports.

IIHs included a passenger-side overlap crash test in the safety evaluation for the first time.

“Drivers expect their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are,” Adrian Lund, IIHS president, said in a statement.

Lund added that manufacturers have taken the issue seriously after IIHS brought it up. Further, the expert said that overlap protection would surely become the norm on the passenger side too just like it is on the driver side.

This year IIHS also required vehicles to have better headlights to be considered for the Top Safety Pick+ category. Lund stated that automakers have adapted “big changes” in the headlights. There was a time when only designers had a say in the positioning of the headlights. Now, after IIHS has started to give importance to the headlights, engineers are also getting involved.

Lund notes that raising the bar has encouraged the vehicle brands to make improvements in their vehicles. The car companies, who did not meet the standards in the past, have now upgraded in an attempt to gain the IIHS approval for the safest cars. Further, the executive stated that the standards that were seen only in a few cars before are now common in almost all the vehicle brands.