The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced its 2019 Top Safety Picks, and 30 vehicles nabbed the highest honor with a Top Safety Pick+. To earn that title, vehicles must receive a good rating for passenger-side overlap front-crash protection and have good-rated headlights. That’s in addition to meeting the requirements for the next level down – known simply as the Top Safety Pick – where another 27 vehicles qualified for an award. All total, 57 candidates were crowned as top picks.
To make the cut, vehicles must earn an acceptable rating in the aforementioned passenger-side overlap test, with good ratings in the remaining five crashworthiness tests. Also, vehicles must have an automatic emergency braking system available either as standard or optional to be considered. Earning the extra + award is a bit tougher this year – last year the passenger-side overlap only required an acceptable rating to garner the title.
Which cars took home the gold? Let’s start by talking about the vehicles you won’t see. There wasn’t a single pickup truck that made the Top Safety Pick cut, never mind the higher plus level. Aside from microcars, it’s the only segment to not qualify for an award. The new Ram 1500 came close, but it was kept out of the winner’s circle due to underperforming headlights.
Subaru led the safety charge with seven models earning the highest award, from small cars like the WRX to the large Ascent SUV. Hyundai also made a strong showing; factored in with Kia and Genesis the automaker actually scored more wins than Subaru, but IIHS views the individual brands separately. Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, BMW, Lexus, Acura, Honda, and Mazda round out the list for Top Safety Pick + winners.
Notably absent from the overall list are U.S. automakers. Only one American vehicle made the cut – the Chrysler Pacifica minivan was named a Top Safety Pick.
IIHS has the full list of models, as well as a summary of near-misses and judging criteria.