Whether you wore elbow- and knee-pads, used hand signals, and had a caution flag while riding your tricycle as a 5-year-old or have precious cargo like a spouse and kids to care for as a 35 (45, 55, 65…)-year-old, we have great news for you:
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has made its requirements for earning a “Top Safety Pick +” classification more stringent. Much more stringent.
There’s a New Category in Town…
That’s right. The industry’s cracking down. Design is nice. Sleek is cool. Gadgets are fun. But let’s admit it: whether you’re a hypochondriac or you just appreciate that’s life’s a blessing, there’s only one thing that a car MUST do, and it’s NOT show you a movie or warm your buns while you ride; it’s getting you there, safely, every time—no matter where “there” is.
The IIHS knows this, which is why their new standards are asking manufacturers to make cars with the words “precious cargo” in mind.
And the IIHS have good reason for putting their finger in the pie. Accident-related deaths on American roads are climbing, reaching a record high for the past decade in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Why so many more deaths? The IIHS President suggests the improved economy. Nathan Bomey of USA Today suggests distracted driving, and we’re with him. We’ve seen it all, and we know you have, too: people talking and driving… texting and driving… reading and driving… drinking and driving… shaving and driving…
The IIHS sees it, too, and they’re asking manufacturers to combat the exponentially dangerous driving habits of modern drivers with equally exponentially safety-conscious engineers and designers of modern vehicles.
There’s a new, more rigorous crash test that cars must undergo. And another of the pet projects of the IIHS? Making headlights safer, and a good thing, too. (We just read about another driver whose car burst into flames after it flipped due to a swerving driver who “didn’t see the deer in the road until it was too late.”) The IIHS wants to ensure that designers aren’t the only ones with a say in the position of the headlights. Therefore, to earn a “Top Safety Pick +” rating overall, a vehicle must earn at least a “good” rating on headlights.
The IIHS wants to caution you: almost all of the cars so far on their “Top Safety Pick +” list (which is not exhaustive considering they haven’t yet tested all 2018 models) only meet “Safety +” requirements with optional equipment. This means that, if you buy the basic model, you will NOT be purchasing a top safety-rated vehicle.
That’s a Rip-off, Right?
Don’t kill the messenger. IIHS is not here to slick back their hair with styling gel and get you to buy the expensive optional stuff; they’re only in it to report what to buy from the manufacturers that will keep you safe. If you want to know what base models are safest versus what optimized models, you’ll have to ask them.
But enough small talk. You want the list, and we want to give it to you. Here are the only 15 cars so far to make the “+” rating for 2018 models:
Top Safety Pick + Models in Alphabetical Order
- BMW 5 series
- Genesis G80
- Genesis G90
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
- Kia Forte (sedan only)
- Kia Soul
- Lincoln Continental
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class (sedan only)
- Mercedes-Benz GLC
- Subaru Impreza
- Subaru WRX
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru Outback
- Toyota Camry
There you have it. Want to keep the tots safe? The spouse? The pet? The bestie? Yourself? The IIHS says these may be the models for you… at least pending further testing on other ’18 models. Which would you choose?