WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. insurers said 66 vehicles have earned top safety ratings as automakers catch up with revamped testing criteria.
The tests, passed by 40 cars, 24 sport utility vehicles and one minivan, include a roof strength test that is new.
At the start of 2010, only 27 vehicles made the grade for Top Safety Pick recognition, due to the new test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said.
By the middle of the year, 58 cars had earned awards. More recently, two models were discontinued and 10 more passed the test, the institute said.
Among automakers, Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi top the list with nine models each that earned awards. General Motors, Ford/Lincoln and Toyota/Lexus/Scion are in the second tier.
Subaru, which earned five awards for 2011, was the only automaker with at least one award winner in each category in which it qualifies.
The institute noted Ford had upgraded roofs on three SUVs, the Ford Flex and the Lincoln MKT. GM built the fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cruze with 10 standard airbags. Volkswagen requested crash tests for its Touareg, a large SUV, which is normally a category not included in the tests. But the vehicle passed, the institute said.