ARLINGTON, Virginia — More than a dozen new models earn the highest rating of "superior" in the latest round of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front-crash prevention tests, including the 2016 Acura MDX and BMW X3.
For 2016, all Acura models are available with optional AcuraWatch, which includes a collision-mitigation braking system with forward-collision warning and other safety technologies.
The X3 earns an "advanced" rating when equipped with BMW's camera-only system called City Braking Function and is rated "superior" when equipped with a camera- and radar-based system.
These safety systems help drivers to avoid front-to-rear crashes.
They use various types of sensors to detect when the vehicle is getting too close to one in front of it. Many systems automatically brake the vehicle if the driver doesn't respond in time.
"We've seen an uptick in the number of luxury and mainstream models with available autobrake," said David Zuby, the Institute's executive vice president and chief research officer, in a statement. "That's a welcome sign of highway safety and helps pave the way for the eventual deployment of fully autonomous vehicles."
These systems started out as options on a few luxury models and have steadily spread to more of the fleet, the Institute notes.
Front-crash prevention and adaptive headlights also are reducing insurance claims, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.
There are fewer claims under property damage liability coverage with forward-collision warning with automatic braking than for the same vehicles that aren't equipped with the technology.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers who make safety a priority will be paying close attention to this new report.