The Safest Cars in America: IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2010

Since 2006, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests each car model for sale in the United States in several crash scenarios.  They run them into walls, barriers, other cars, poles, all the major accident types.  Speeds range from 5 mph to 40 mph, and all of the results are analyzed and finally tallied.  The vehicles which earn “good” ratings in each of the 4 tests are added to the “Top Safety Picks” list for that model year.  This year, the IIHS added a “roof stability” test, which pushes a metal plate at a constant speed into one half of the roof of a vehicle.  How well the car sustains this crushing force determines its score.

With this new test, recent winners such as Toyota, BMW and Mazda were left out in the cold.  Chrysler modified its seats and head rests in order to garner better crash ratings for its vehicles, as did GM to get its Malibu on the list.  Read on after the list to see how each manufacturer did.

Winners:

Large cars
Buick LaCrosse
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Audi A3
Chevrolet Malibu built after October 2009
Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional electronic stability control
Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control
Mercedes C class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Volvo C30

Small cars
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Soul
Nissan Cube
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door

Midsize SUVs
Dodge Journey
Subaru Tribeca
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs
Honda Element
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

Now, here’s a breakdown of the manufacturers who won, and how many winners they have on the list:

By John Suit

Source: IIHS

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