A total of 115 vehicles have earned the 2012 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) including 69 cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans and 3 pickups. Eighteen new models make the list this year including the Acura MDX, Acura TL, Acura TSX, BMW X3, Buick Verano, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, Honda CR-Z, Honda Fit, Honda Insight, Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Scion xD, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius V, and Toyota Yaris.
Earning the Top Safety Pick designation means a car has performed well in all of the Institute's tests, including front, side, rollover, and rear crash tests. IIHS rates cars in all these tests on a scale of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor. All vehicles that earn the Top Safety Pick award need to score a Good in all these tests. Those vehicles rated good for rollover have roof strength that is twice as strong as what the federal government recommends, although a new federal roof crush standard will begin with 2013 models.
Honda has improved in the IIHS tests this year and now has 10 more Top Safety Pick models than last year due to upgrades in their roof structure which provides better rollover protection. Toyota and its Scion and Lexus brands have the most winners with 15 models for 2012, General Motors with 14, Volkswagen/Audi with 13 and Ford/Lincoln and Honda/Acura with 12 each.
Injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes are a serious problem. In 2010, 32,885 people died in vehicle fatalities. Front, side, and rollover crashes make up a large part of the deaths. While rear-end crashes typically aren’t fatal, they result in a large portion of injuries and insurance claims.
The Insurance Institute’s crash test evaluations are an important tool to help consumers choose a safe vehicle that can help reduce the risk of death from vehicle crashes.
For a full list of the 2012 winners and to see a list of past winners dating back to 2006, the first year of the Top Safety Pick Awards, see the IIHS website.
To find out more on how the IIHS and the government conduct crash tests, see Crash test 101. Also check out our guide to vehicle safety.
To see how your vehicle fares, browse our video library of more than 300 IIHS crash tests. To aid with vehicle research, you’ll also find crash tests within our model overview pages, within the Photos/Videos tab.