Recent surveys have shown that safety is the most important factor people cite when buying a new car, giving special credence to NHTSA crash tests and IIHS Top Safety Picks and driving consumer perceptions of brands. With revised standards in place, the IIHS has revealed its 2010 Top Safety Picks and some big name automakers, such as Toyota and BMW, are conspicuously absent.
Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick list contained the names of 94 cars from automakers around the globe. Tightening the standards of its Top Safety Pick award for the second time since its introduction in 2006, the IIHS has cut the number of top picks to just 27, and that has left some leading automakers out in the cold. For the first time in three years, not a single Toyota model graces the Top Safety Pick list, making it the only member of the top five automakers in the U.S. to not receive an award. The tighter restrictions also led to the specification of certain models and trim packages. For example, the only Chrysler Sebring
that gets a Top Safety Pick designation is the four-door model with optional stability control.
| 2010 Volvo Xc90 front
Technically, the automaker that took home the most awards was Ford, which garnered six. However, four of them went to Volvos, a brand Ford is in the process of selling to Chinese automaker Geely, and a fifth was a Lincoln. Subaru and Volkswagen, meanwhile, tied with five each, however, one of the Volkswagens was actually the Audi A3
. Chrysler came in third with four picks across its three brands. Ranking by brand instead, Subaru comes out on top with five followed by a tie between Volvo and Volkswagen with four each, then a tie between Honda and Dodge with two each.
Parsing the list, it's also interesting to notice the overlap of the same vehicles under different brand names. Both the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger
won as did their Dodge Journey
platform mate. The Ford Taurus
and Lincoln MKS
twins did as well. The Volkswagen Golf
, Tiguan, Jetta and Audi A3 are all built on the same platform, as are the Subaru Impreza
and Forester and Legacy, Outback and Tribeca. Chevrolet Malibu
and Buick LaCrosse
are on the same platform, as are the Volvo XC90
and S80 and Honda Civic
and Element. So, while 27 vehicles were picked, really only 14 platforms were actually chosen. Ranked by platform, Volkswagen gets the most picks followed by a tie between Subaru and Chrysler then a tie between Ford, GM, Honda and both Ford and Subaru again.
| 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan front
The 2010 IIHS Top Safety Picks:
Chevrolet Malibu (built after October 2009)
Chrysler Sebring (four-door version with optional electronic stability control (ESC))
Dodge Avenger (with optional ESC)
Mercedes C class
Subaru Outback Volkswagen Jetta
sedan Volkswagen Passat
Honda Civic (four-door version with optional ESC; excludes Civic Si)
Subaru Impreza (excludes Impreza WRX)
Volkswagen Golf (four-door version)
Honda Element Jeep Patriot
(with optional side thorax airbags)
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)