Moderately priced and luxury midsized cars and sport utility vehicles were the first to be evaluated in the test program, which rates the performance of front crash prevention systems such as automatic braking systems or anti-lock brakes.
The highest-scoring vehicles had autobrake systems and substantially reduced speeds in 12 mph and 25 mph tests, the institute said -- noting Subaru's "EyeSight" system performed best, followed by Cadillac's "Automatic Collision Preparation" system.
Of the 74 vehicles tested thus far, the private, non-profit, IIHS said in a statement, a rating of "superior" was given to the two Subaru models, the Cadillac ATS sedan and SRX SUV, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Volvo S60 sedan and XC60 SUV.
A "basic" rating was earned by 25 other vehicles, the statement said, noting 36 models either do not offer a crash protection system or have a system that does not meet National Highway Transportation Safety Administration or IIHS criteria.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit, scientific and educational organization, based its findings on data from the Highway Loss Data Institute. Both organizations are supported and financed by the insurance industry.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]