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2010 Safest Cars: IIHS Top Safety Picks

New Roof Test Drastically Shrinks Winner's Circle


The number of vehicles designated as Top Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) dropped by a third in 2010, largely because of tougher testing standards, including a newly instituted roof-crush test. In conjunction with the roof test, the IIHS conducts high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, and test of seat/head restraints to protect against neck injuries such as whiplash.

The IIHS, a nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers, rates tested vehicles as Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor. In order to earn the 2010 Top Safety Pick designation, a vehicle must have good ratings in all four tests and be equipped with electronic stability control. The IIHS ratings should not be confused with the federal government tests that result in "star" ratings.

For 2010, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo make strong crashworthiness showings, whereas Audi, traditionally a high performer across the board, appears only in the midsize category. Some automakers that earned a Top Safety Pick rating last year do not have a winning vehicle for 2010, including Mazda and Saab.

More information on vehicle safety can be found in Edmunds Car Safety Guide.

Below is the complete list of 2010 Top Safety Picks as chosen by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)*:

Large Cars

Midsize Cars

Small Cars


Midsize SUVs

Small SUVs


* NOTE: Winning vehicles are chosen by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial staff.

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