Ford, Subaru and Volkswagen are at the top of the US insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles
Nineteen cars and eight SUVs have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award for 2010.
For the first time, good performance in a roof strength test to measure protection in a rollover was required to win.
Subaru was the only manufacturer with a winner in all four vehicle classes it competed in, earning five awards for 2010. Ford and Volvo had six winners, and Volkswagen/Audi had five. Chrysler earned four awards. Two new small cars, the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul, joined the Top Safety Pick list for 2010.
Top Safety Pick recognises vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear, and now rollover crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have electronic stability control, which research shows significantly reduces crash risk. This is the second time the Institute has tightened criteria since announcing the first recipients in 2005.
"With the addition of our new roof strength evaluation, our crash test results now cover all 4 of the most common kinds of crashes," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "Consumers can use this list to zero in on the vehicles that are on the top rung for safety."
Surprisingly, not a single model from the world's biggest automaker by sales was among this year's winners. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners, but were shut out for 2010.
Four other manufacturers whose vehicles have earned Top Safety Pick in the past also didn't have a qualifying vehicle for 2010: BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Saab. The Honda Accord picked up the award the past 2 years, but the 2010 didn't earn the required roof strength rating to qualify (the roof is rated acceptable).
Chevrolet Malibu built after October 2009
Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional electronic stability control
Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control
Mercedes C class
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags