IIHS releases picks for safest cars of 2018

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Scoring an acceptable rating for headlight visibility is enough for getting on the Top Safety Pick list but no longer for earning the coveted TPS+ award, which now requires a good rating unlike a year ago.

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

"Most drivers when they buy a auto they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are". Only 15 of them earned the highest honors.

IIHS President Adrian Lund explains the testing processes implemented for the "Top Pick Plus" ranking.

New model-year 2018 vehicles to earn the plus designation include the BMW 5 Series; Genesis G80 and G90; Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport; Kia Forte sedan and Soul; Lincoln Continental; Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and GLC; Subaru Impreza, WRX, Legacy and Outback; and Toyota Camry.

Subaru had the most Safety Pick+ vehicles.

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Two vehicle manufacturers-Hyundai and Subaru-garnered the lion's share of the highest-level safety awards for 2018 presented by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Vehicles that come with autobraking also earn high marks. The Crosstrek and the Forester earn TOP SAFETY PICK, also with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights.

Across manufacturers, the vast majority of winners qualify only when optionally equipped because front crash prevention and acceptable or good headlights aren't part of their base trims. In addition to the 15 "Top Pick Plus" designees, there were 47 "Top Pick" vehicles. That list could grow, since IIHS has not yet reviewed all models and variations and plans to review more throughout 2018.

"All automakers have pledged to make auto braking standard equipment on their vehicles by 2022", said Lund.

But, even as it announces its top safety picks for 2018, an agency that evaluates vehicle safety says automakers can do even better. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety. If the pattern holds, they'll have to score a good rating next year to make the 2019 list.

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