The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published its list of vehicles that qualify for either of the awards, the Top Safety Pick, and also a higher accolade, called the Safety Pick+ for 2021. Brands like Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and Volvo came out on top as they got hold of most of the awards.
“With these awards, we want to make it easy for consumers to find vehicles that provide good protection in crashes, sufficient lighting and effective front crash protection, manufacturers have stepped up to meet the challenge, and the list of great options has grown to an impressive size this year.”” David Harkey, IIHS President
As a measure of how much safety has taken root in the industry, 49 models earned the Top Safety Pick+ rating this year, more than double the number in 2020. Another 41 vehicles landed Top Safety Pick honors. All told, 90 vehicles earn one of the awards, up from 64 last year.
One of the most unusual vehicles that made its way into the list of winners for the first time on this list is the Ram 1500 crew cab, the sole pickup truck to obtain either award and the only delegate of the Stellantis family of merged automakers. Two minivans, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are Top Safety Pick Plus designees. In 2020, no pickup trucks or minivans won either of the citations.
General Motors had only the Cadillac XT6 and Chevrolet Equinox as award winners among its many vehicles. Hyundai Motor Group, the parent automaker behind Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia, had 17 award champs on the contrary, including five Top Safety Pick Plus designees. Volvo had the most outstanding Top Safety Pick Plus lot with nine winners of any manufacturer.
Even Mazda, except for the MX-5 Miata, which IIHS has not tested, received a Top Safety Pick Plus award. Mitsubishi, meanwhile, so far failed to earn a single mention from the IIHS.
2021 Models Earning IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus: Winners earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. They also have an advanced or superior rating for available front crash prevention in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations and have acceptable or good headlights standards.
- Audi: A6, A6 Allroad, A7, E-Tron, E-Tron Sportback
- Acura: RDX, TLX
- Cadillac: XT6
- Ford: Explorer
- Genesis: G70, G90
- Honda: Accord, Insight, Odyssey
- Hyundai: Nexo, Palisade
- Kia: K5
- Lexus: ES 350, IS, NX
- Mazda: Mazda3 (hatchback and sedan), Mazda6, CX-3, CX-30 , CX-5, CX-9
- Mercedes-Benz: GLE-Class
- Nissan: Altima, Maxima (examples built after November 2020), Rogue
- Subaru: Ascent, Crosstrek Hybrid, Forester, Legacy, Outback
- Tesla: Model 3
- Toyota: Camry, Highlander, Sienna
- Volvo: S60, S60 Recharge, V60, V60 Recharge, XC40, XC60, XC60 Recharge, XC90, XC90 Recharge
2021 Models Earning IIHS Top Safety Pick: winners earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. They also have an advanced or superior rating for available front crash prevention — in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations — and have acceptable or good headlights available, but not standard. Vehicles qualify for the award only when equipped with those headlights.
- Audi: A4, A5 Sportback, Q8
- BMW: 3 Series
- Chevrolet: Equinox
- Ford: Edge, Escape
- Honda: Civic hatchback and sedan, CR-V
- Hyundai: Kona, Sonata, Tucson, Veloster, Venue
- Kia: Forte, Seltos, Sorento, Soul, Sportage, Stinger, Telluride
- Lexus: RX, UX
- Lincoln: Aviator, Corsair
- Mercedes-Benz: C-Class, GLC-Class
- Nissan: Sentra
- Ram: 1500 crew cab
- Subaru: Crosstrek, Impreza (sedan and wagon), WRX
- Toyota: C-HR, Corolla (Hatchback and sedan), RAV4, RAV4 Prime, Venza
- Volkswagen: Tiguan
The Pick Plus and Top Safety Pick awards are a big testimonial to the importance given to Safety by the car manufacturers. However, not all versions of a car qualify as an award winner. Many vehicles qualify when armed with optional front collision avoidance technology, frequently only on higher trim levels. Others just fit if they are built after a specific date that you can usually find on a decal inside the driver's door. And in other situations, only distinct body styles qualify.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC Class and GLE Class SUVs received various awards, as an instance; however, the GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe versions didn't. Most awards relate with gas-only and hybrid versions, sometimes even resulting in special awards: The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid can be a Pick Plus, while the gas-only Crosstrek is just a Top Safety Pick.