PHOENIX -- A record-setting 66 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 2011. The winning vehicles include 40 passenger cars, 25 sport utility vehicles, and one minivan.
Leading the list for the 2011 model year are Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi, with 9 winning vehicles each. General Motors, Ford/Lincoln, and Toyota/Lexus/Scion earned 8 awards each. Subaru earned 5 awards for 2011.
IIHS recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based scores tests performed by the Institute. In order to qualify, vehicles must also be equipped with electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk.
The ratings help consumers identify vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require.
Last year, only 27 vehicles initially qualified for the award. That number grew to 58 by years-end as auto manufacturers reworked existing designs and introduced new models.
"In just a year, automakers have more than doubled the number of vehicles that meet the criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK," said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "That gives consumers shopping for a safer new car or SUV — from economy to luxury models — plenty of choices to consider in most dealer showrooms. In fact, every major automaker has at least one winning model this year."