America's Safest Cars Aren't American

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will issue its list of what it thinks are the safest vehicles in America. 66 vehicles will be on the list. 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and a minivan. Any guesses who will lead the list?

“Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi each have 9 winners for 2011. Next in line with 8 awards apiece are General Motors, Ford/Lincoln, and Toyota/Lexus/Scion. Subaru is the only manufacturer with a winner in all the vehicle classes in which it competes. Subaru earns 5 awards for 2011.“

The IIHS Top Safety Pick Award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in institute tests. Winners also must have available electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk.

And what about the epitomes of safety, SUVs and trucks? Says the IIHS:

“The redesigned Volkswagen Touareg is the only large SUV to earn Top Safety Pick for 2011. The Institute doesn’t normally evaluate SUVs this large, but Volkswagen requested crash tests to demonstrate the Touareg’s crash-worthiness. None of the small pickups the Institute has evaluated qualified for this year’s award, and large pickups haven’t yet been tested.”

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  • Mtr2car1 Mtr2car1 on Dec 22, 2010

    I looked at this article in a different way and wondered if the IIHS is letting it's credibility be manipulated by makers stuffing the ballot box - so to speak. VW got 9 b/c the asked and provided a Touareg to be tested that normally wouldn't have?? They also provided the Golf 4 door and the GTI 4 door - esentially trim variations?? Of course the B&B would correctly point out that the 2 Jetta's are different platforms and should count as an each but some of the totals by manufacture seem "optimistic"

  • Higheriq Higheriq on Dec 22, 2010

    Am I the only driver who doesn't make a vehicle purchase decision based on safety ratings or safety equipment?

    • See 3 previous
    • ChuckR ChuckR on Dec 22, 2010

      perisoft I also looked at an Elan and was serious enough to have it checked by a specialist. He told me that of 16 "bobbins" holding the flimsy fiberglass body to the equally flimsy sheet metal backbone, only four were installed. The kicker was looking at the elastomeric donuts coupling the IRS halfshafts and spindles. Kinda like having a medieval mace spinning gaily a few inches behind your lower back. If the IIHS tested one of these, they would award multiple black holes, not stars. PS - is it true that you have to have at least one tweed sport coat with arm patches in order to qualify to buy a 9-5?

  • JJ JJ on Dec 22, 2010

    The video is from an old Touareg. In fact, it's from an old Touareg before the 07/08 facelift. Just sayin'.

  • Oboylepr Oboylepr on Dec 22, 2010

    A Very Merry Christmas to you too Mikey!