Hyundai, Subaru Lead in New IIHS Safety Ratings

A total of eleven Toyota and Lexus vehicles are 2018 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK award winners with the new 2018 Camry receiving its highest award the TOP SAFETY PICK

Headlights weren't factored in for the 2017 Top Safety Pick, and an acceptable headlight rating was enough to bump a 2017 award victor into the "plus" category.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its top safety picks for 2018 and the head of that agency says the results of its crash tests are good news for the driving public.

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety says it's raising the bar for automakers, creating tougher test criteria to make sure vehicles can protect people in crashes and do more to help prevent crashes that can injure or kill. Toyota has 10 model-year 2018 vehicles on the Top Safety Pick list, and Hyundai represented with nine.

The Kia Forte sedan was awarded a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. "Manufacturers have been taking this issue seriously since we first shed light on it, and we're confident that good small overlap protection will become the norm on the passenger side, just as it has on the driver side".

"Toyota and Lexus remain committed to providing safe and reliable vehicles and we're proud to have Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System+ as standard equipment on nearly every new model in our line-up".

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Crash tests have been part of the IIHS's playbook for years to make sure drivers are protected, but this year it made a decision to add tests to see how well passengers are protected.

This year, 62 vehicle models earned the institute's top safety pick award.

"Doesn't mean that vehicles have gotten less safe, it really just reflects that we've raised the bar", IIHS President Adrian Lund told CBS.

However, there is a problem with the rankings overall. For instance, automatic braking is a key requirement for the getting the "Top Pick Plus" rating, and in most vehicles, that comes at a significant price increase.

The Institute's headlight ratings also are relatively new, with the first ones being released in March 2016. The Crosstrek and Forester earn Top Safety Pick, also with option front-crash prevention and specific headlights. Previously, only the driver's side faced that test.

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