Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) releases its list of what it considers to be the safest vehicles on the road. There are multiple grades of awards, but the top of the list is a Top Safety Pick+. This year, 49 cars, trucks, and crossovers take the award. Here, we've listed the cars, minivans, and hatchbacks that earned the award in 2021.
To qualify, a vehicle has to get a good rating in all six of the IIHS's crash tests, including driver and passenger small overlap, moderate overlap, side, roof, and head restraints. They're also required to have front crash prevention that earns superior or advanced for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash avoidance tests, and they must have headlights with a good or acceptable rating across all trims and packages.
Taking home the most 2021 trophies is Hyundai Motor Group, including Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, with five Top Safety Pick+ wins and 12 vehicles getting the lesser Top Safety Pick designation. The Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey both make the list this year, the first minivans to do so.
The IIHS also notes that last year, only 23 vehicles earned the top award. The figure has more than doubled as automakers have scrambled to improve their front lighting systems to meet that test, which was first added in 2017 and made more strict for 2020. While improved lighting is now required to earn to the top award, front crash prevention is still only required to be optional or available. IIHS, though, says 20 automakers have signed a pledge to put the vehicle-to-vehicle emergency braking on 95 per cent of vehicles starting next year.
Safest Small Cars
Mazda 3 sedan
Mazda 3 hatchback
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
Safest Midsize Cars
Kia K5 (built after November 2020)
Nissan Maxima *built after November 2020)
Safest Midsize Luxury Cars
Lexus ES 350
Tesla Model 3
Volvo S60 Recharge
Volvo V60 Recharge
Safest Large Luxury Cars
Audi A6 Allroad