Safest Cars for 2018

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its top vehicle safety picks for 2018. And this year the IIHS is making the criteria more hard for automakers to earn a top grade. In order to qualify, model-year 2018 vehicles now need to have good-rated headlights and get a good or acceptable rating in IIHS' newest evaluation, the passenger-side small overlap front crash test.

They've also bumped up standards for headlights.

IIHS has been recognizing vehicles with TOP SAFETY PICK since the 2006 model year to help consumers identify vehicles with the highest safety ratings without having to wade through information about individual tests. It was this test that caused the significant drop in the number of vehicles earning the top rating. "We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side but we weren't seeing that kind of for passengers".

"We are trying to send a message to the auto makers that we do want them to improve the protection for their customers", said IIHS president Adrian Lund. The Crosstrek and the Forester earn TOP SAFETY PICK, also with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights.

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The 2018 Toyota Camry was one of only 15 vehicles to meet the criteria for the TPS+ award, while six other Toyota models and four Lexus models qualified for the regular TPS award, including the Toyota Avalon, Corolla, Prius, Prius Prime, RAV4, and Highlander.

"Cars are safer now than they ever have been", Lund believes with even more improvements in crash test performance and headlights, vehicles will be even safer down the road.

The vast majority of award winners only qualify when optionally equipped with front crash prevention and acceptable or good headlights aren't part of their base trims, the institute said.

"All automakers have pledged to make auto braking standard equipment on their vehicles by 2022", said Lund. That list could grow, since IIHS has not yet reviewed all models and variations and plans to review more throughout 2018.

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