In its latest release, the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has come out with a list that includes the safest cars in each category for 2013, while also awarding a new "Top Safety Pick+" accolade to 13 cars, most of which are mainstream mid-size saloons.
The winners of IIHS's new Top Safety Pick+ include the Acura TL; Dodge Avenger and its twin, the Chrysler 200 sedan; Ford Fusion; Honda Accord Coupe and Sedan; Kia Optima; Nissan Altima sedan; Subaru Legacy and its sibling, the Outback; Suzuki Kizashi; Volkswagen Passat and the Volvo S60.
According to the organization, to qualify for the Top Safety Pick+, cars must earn good ratings for occupant protection in at least 4 of 5 evaluations, with no less than acceptable in the fifth test.
"Of the 29 models evaluated so far in our small overlap frontal crash test, these 13 cars offer the highest level of all-around crash protection," stated Adrian Lund, IIHS president. "We're pleased to recognize them with our new Top Safety Pick+ award for 2013."
For 2013, IIHS awarded a Top Safety Pick to 117 new cars ranging in size from the Fiat 500 to full-size pickup trucks like the Toyota Tundra. All of these vehicles have good ratings for occupant protection in the moderate overlap frontal test, side impact, rollover and rear tests.
"Models that earn Top Safety Pick also offer outstanding protection in many crashes," commented Lund. "These vehicles are much safer choices than most vehicles on the market just five years ago."
Below you will find the complete list of IIHS' 117 Top Safety Picks as well as the 13 cars that gained the Top Safety Pick+ award.
Note from IIHS: "Don't compare ratings across vehicle size groups because size and weight influence occupant protection in serious crashes. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Models that earn Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick are the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories, but this doesn't mean a small car that's a Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick affords more protection than a bigger car that doesn't earn the award."