IIHS Announces 2011 Top Safety Picks

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named 66 vehicles to its Top Safety Picks for 2011 list. The Top Safety Pick awards recognize vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover and rear crashes. Vehicles named Top Safety Picks have to earn a "good" rating in all these tests. Other ratings include acceptable, marginal and poor.

Top Safety Pick vehicles also must have available electronic stability control. For 2011, 40 cars, 25 SUVs and one minivan earned the accolade. Last year, the IIHS made it harder to earn a Top Safety Pick award by requiring that all qualifying vehicles earn a good rating for performance in a roof strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. None of the small pickups the IIHS tested qualified for this year’s award, and large pickups haven’t been tested yet.

"In just a year, automakers have more than doubled the number of vehicles that meet the criteria for Top Safety Pick," says Adrian Lund, the Institute’s president. "That gives consumers shopping for a safer new car or SUV – from economy to luxury models – plenty of choices to consider in most dealer showrooms. In fact, every major automaker has at least one winning model this year."

For 2011, Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi each have nine vehicles on the Top Safety Picks list.

The IIHS says that 92 percent of 2011 model-year cars, 94 percent of SUVs and 56 percent of pickup trucks have standard head and torso side airbags. Electronic stability control is standard on 92 percent of cars, 100 percent of SUVs, and 72 percent of pickup trucks.

2011 IIHS Top Safety Pick Winners:
Large cars
Buick LaCrosse
Buick Regal
BMW 5 series (except 4-wheel drive and V8)
Cadillac CTS sedan
Ford Taurus
Hyundai Genesis
Infiniti M37/M56 (except M56x 4-wheel drive)
Lincoln MKS
Mercedes E class coupe
Mercedes E class sedan
Toyota Avalon
Volvo S80
Midsize cars
Audi A3
Audi A4 sedan
Chevrolet Malibu
Chrysler 200 4-door
Dodge Avenger
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Lincoln MKZ
Mercedes C class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Volvo C30
Small cars
Chevrolet Cruze
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Forte sedan
Kia Soul
Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive)
Nissan Cube
Scion tC
Scion xB
Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback (except WRX)
Toyota Corolla
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Volkswagen GTI 4-door
Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback built after July 2010
Toyota Sienna
Large SUV
Volkswagen Touareg
Midsize SUVs
Audi Q5
Cadillac SRX
Chevrolet Equinox
Dodge Journey
Ford Explorer
Ford Flex
GMC Terrain
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento built after March 2010
Lexus RX
Lincoln MKT
Mercedes GLK
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Venza
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90
Small SUVs
Honda Element
Hyundai Tucson
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Kia Sportage
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan