Hyundai, VW top insurance industry safe car list

By Reuters
Posted Dec. 22, 2010 at 5:41 a.m.

Fast growing Korean manufacturer Hyundai Motor and its Kia Motors affiliate shared the top spot for crash safety in a broad review of 2011 models. (See the full list)

Volkswagen and its luxury Audi brand also were among the 66 passenger cars and sport utilities garnering the highest ratings published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. also scored high in the annual review of front, side and rear crashworthiness. Head restraint and rollover protection also were measured.

No small pickups qualified for top ratings. Large pickups will be tested later.

Tougher criteria in the past two years due to the addition of a roof strength requirement and electronic stability control prompted some automakers to redesign vehicles so they would score higher in the IIHS review.

“Automakers deserve credit for quickly rising to meet the more challenging criteria,” said Adrian Lund, the insurance safety group’s president. “That gives consumers shopping for a safer new car or SUV plenty of choices to consider.”

Hyundai and Kia reversed poor roof crush ratings a year ago for the Tucson and its small SUV twin, the Kia Sportage. Hyundai also improved the roof on the midsize Santa Fe SUV and the redesigned Sonata, a midsized car.

The Korean manufacturers are growing fast in the U.S. market where they both rank in the Top 10 for sales and are taking business away from established Japanese competitors.

Hyundai and Kia each nearly doubled sales in November from the year-ago period and their business combined was just behind Chrysler Group, which is run by Italy’s Fiat SpA .

Chrysler added torso bags to its redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee to improve side crash protection. The redesigned Volkswagen Touareg was the only large SUV to earn a top rating. The Chevy Cruze small car was also a top pick with 10 standard airbags.

The Ford Explorer registered a top safety pick for the first time and the Ford Fiesta was the only minicar to earn that rating.

More than 26,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year in front and side crashes and rollovers, government safety figures show. Rear crashes usually are not fatal but result in a large number of injuries.

The insurance institute is a non-profit research and communications group funded by auto insurers and focused on evaluating crash safety.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognized 66 vehicles as winners of their top safety pick award for the 2011 model year. The award honors vehicles for their ability to protect motorists in front, side, rear and rollover crashes. The vehicles must have anti-rollover technology called Electronic Stability Control, or ESC, and strong scores in roof strength tests.


Buick LaCrosse

Buick Regal

BMW 5 Series

Cadillac CTS

Ford Taurus

Hyundai Genesis

Infiniti M

Lincoln MKS

Mercedes E Class sedan

Mercedes E Class coupe

Toyota Avalon

Volvo S80


Audi A3

Audi A4

Chevrolet Malibu

Chrysler 200

Dodge Avenger

Ford Fusion

Hyundai Sonata

Kia Optima

Lincoln MKZ

Mercedes C Class

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Volvo C30


Chevrolet Cruze

Honda Civic

Kia Forte

Kia Soul

Mitsubishi Lancer

Nissan Cube

Scion tC

Scion xB

Subaru Impreza

Toyota Corolla

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen GTI


Ford Fiesta


Toyota Sienna


Volkswagen Touareg


Audi Q5

Cadillac SRX

Chevrolet Equinox

Dodge Journey

Ford Explorer

Ford Flex

GMC Terrain

Hyundai Santa Fe

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Kia Sorento

Lexus RX

Lincoln MKT

Mercedes GLK

Subaru Tribeca

Toyota Highlander

Toyota Venza

Volvo XC60

Volvo XC90


Honda Element

Hyundai Tucson

Jeep Patriot

Kia Sportage

Subaru Forester

Volkswagen Tiguan

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


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