When shopping for a new or used vehicle, its crash test rating is an important consideration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit organization funded entirely by auto insurance companies, crash tests nearly every model of car, truck, van and SUV sold in the United States. The IIHS provides an accurate, unbiased safety evaluation that every consumer should pay attention to prior to purchasing a vehicle.
To help consumers quickly identify the safest vehicles on the road, the IIHS produces an annual list of “Top Safety Picks.” For model year 2009, all “Top Safety Picks” must achieve the highest score (good) in each of the 3 crash tests administered by the IIHS, as well as offer electronic stability control. The crash tests include high-speed front, high-speed side and rear-impact collisions. For model year 2010, all “Top Safety Picks” must also pass a roof crush test in addition to the criteria above.
Below Is a Selection of Some of the 2009 IIHS “Top Safety Picks:”
Toyota Avalon – The Avalon is Toyota’s largest car, and, accordingly, the IIHS classifies it under the “Large Cars” category. It comes standard with a 4-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS), driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, and rear curtain airbags. Additional safety features include active front headrests, front and rear crumple zones, and side impact door beams. Learn more about the Avalon at http://www.toyota.com.
Honda Accord – A perennial best seller, the Honda Accord is one of the IIHS’ “Top Safety Picks” in the “Midsize Cars” category. All Accords come standard with driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS, and what Honda calls an Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. The ACE body structure is designed to reduce the impact of a collision in the passenger compartment by spreading the force of the crash evenly throughout the vehicle. Information about the Accord can be found at http://automobiles.honda.com.
Hyundai Santa Fe – In recent years, Hyundai has made great strides in quality, reliability and safety. The Santa Fe, categorized as a “Midsize SUV” by the IIHS, has such safety features as ABS, all requisite airbags, active front head restraints and traction control. Additionally, the 2009 Santa Fe was recently named the least expensive 2009 vehicle to insure by the Highway Loss Data Institute. More information can be found at http://www.hyundaiusa.com.
Subaru Forester – Subaru does not sell a large amount of vehicles as compared to other manufacturers. However, many of their vehicles are on the IIHS’ “Top Safety Pick” list. The Forester, classified in the “Small SUVs” category by the IIHS, includes airbags similar to the vehicles mentioned above, as well as ABS and a “Ring-shaped Reinforcement Frame” that is designed to withstand high amounts of force and maintain structural integrity during a crash. Additionally, the Forester comes with a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, providing better traction and road grip than rear- or front-wheel-drive systems. Research the Forester at http://www.subaru.com.
Vehicle safety has always been a top concern for consumers. With a little bit of research, buyers can confidently purchase a vehicle with a proven safety record.