62 models meet tougher criteria to earn IIHS awards

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With new tougher standards in place for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's coveted "2018 Top Pick Plus" rating, just 15 vehicles earned the distinction compared with 38 for 2017.

This year the criteria proved a bit more hard to meet. 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.

Of the hundreds of auto models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions.

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Hyundai - which includes some Kias - and Subaru were the big winners, earning the most Top Safety Pick Plus awards.

This year, only 15 vehicles met the stricter criteria for the TPS+ award and another 47 earned the regular TPS (without the +) award.

The new passenger-side small overlap test marks the first time IIHS has focused a crash test on the front passenger's safety.

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"Drivers expect their passengers will be protected as well as they are". All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru's lineup, the BRZ, qualified for one of the awards. For instance, automatic braking is a key requirement for the getting the "Top Pick Plus" rating, and in most vehicles, that comes at a significant price increase.

Headlights that effectively light up the road are another area where the IIHS has raised its standards. Automakers have pledged to make it a standard feature by 2022.

Also relatively new are the headlight ratings, which were first instituted in March 2016, and the initial results were poor. In order to meet the top ranking, and in some instances, simply being a "Top Pick", the vehicle must be upgraded.

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The 2018 list of the safest vehicles is out, and just 15 earned the highest rating, down from 69 previous year. Over the years, IIHS has added to and strengthened criteria for both awards, pushing automakers to speed up safety advances. "All automakers now recognize the important role of safety in consumer choice, and they are increasingly receptive to working with our engineers to understand the next steps in keeping people from harm in motor vehicle crashes and to make real changes in their vehicle designs".

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