New tests reduce number of auto safety awards

Dec. 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM
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ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- New criteria in a closely watched auto safety report sharply shrank the number of U.S. and foreign cars earning top honors, the testing group said.

Honors in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's annual report are seized on by car companies looking for bragging rights on their product's safety, the New York Times reported Saturday.

In this year's report, however, with two new tests to incorporate into the ranking system, the Institute said 22 vehicles were picked as Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles and 17 as Top Safety Pick vehicles. Last year in those groups, which are the top two groupings, there were 130 vehicles chosen, the Times said.

The test that is now fully incorporated into the ranking is the small overlap crash test, which replicates what happens to a car when only a corner of the front of the vehicle crashes into a barrier -- as opposed to the full front-end collision.

The second new test is an evaluation of the early warning system for front-end collisions that is deemed a crash prevention system.

That technology is too new and too untested to be fully incorporated into the ranking system, the Times reported.

This year's Top Safety Pick Plus list include two U.S. models, the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. It also included the Acura MDX and RLX; two and four-door Honda Accord vehicles; Civic Hybrid and Odyssey; the Infiniti Q50; the Mazda 3, Mazda 6 and CX-5; the Mercedes-Benz M-Class; the Mitsubishi Outlander; the Subaru Forester, Legacy and Outback; the Toyota Highlander and Prius; and the Volvo S60, S80 and XC60, the Institute said.

Top Safety Pick status was bestowed on U.S. models, the Chrysler 200, the Dodge Avenger and Dart, and the Ford Focus.

It was also bestowed on the Acura TL; the two-door Honda Civic; the Hyundai Elantra; the Kia Optima; the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; the Nissan Altima; the Scion tC; the Subaru Impreza and Crosstrek; the Toyota Camry; the Volkswagen Passat; and the Volvo XC90.

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