These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its latest list of the safest vehicles. "And Subaru continues to be a standout with four of their vehicles winning Top Safety Pick+".

All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru's lineup, the BRZ, qualified for one of the awards.

To qualify for either award, vehicles must earn the a good rating in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations, as well as earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. To qualify for the TPS+ award, vehicles must also earn an acceptable rating in a new passenger-side small overlap front test introduced by the IIHS for 2018.

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He says the passenger side crash test was developed "after it became clear that some manufacturers weren't paying enough attention to passenger side protection". It began measuring both how well low and high beams illuminated the road and the amount of glare they produce for oncoming vehicles as part of its ratings in 2016. Toyota has 10 model-year 2018 vehicles on the Top Safety Pick list, and Hyundai represented with nine. The list doesn't include any minivans, pickups or minicars, which don't appear on either list of awardees. The Crosstrek and Forester earn Top Safety Pick, also with option front-crash prevention and specific headlights. It's similar to the existing small front overlap test, a rigorous evaluation that crashes a vehicle into a barrier at 40 miles per hour with just 25 percent of the driver-side front end striking the obstacle. With 15 of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection.

"We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side, but we weren't seeing that kind of improvement for passengers, said IIHS president Adrian Lund".

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