IIHS releases picks for safest cars of 2018

These 15 vehicles are IIHS' top safety picks for 2018

The coming year will be the first that required a good or acceptable rating for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small-overlap test, which measures how well front seat passengers are protected in frontal collisions, according to Consumer Reports, and many cars did not meet those new criteria to earn the top rating.

Another 47 vehicles earned the next-tier Top Safety Pick award with Toyota producing the most vehicles on that list, followed by Hyundai with nine.

IIHS assesses a vehicle's crashworthiness with six tests: moderate overlap front, driver-side small overlap front, (new) passenger-side small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints and seats.

Of the hundreds of vehicle models on the road today, only 15 have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018 due to tougher safety requirements when it comes to passenger side front collisions.

The Kia Forte sedan was awarded a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS.

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Most of the Top Safety Pick Plus Awards went to Hyundai Motor Company with 6 awards and Subaru with four. It's similar to the existing small front overlap test, a rigorous evaluation that crashes a vehicle into a barrier at 40 miles per hour with just 25 percent of the driver-side front end striking the obstacle. With 15 of those earning its highest award despite tougher criteria requiring better headlights and enhanced passenger side protection.

"We developed this test when it became clear that some manufacturers were not paying attention to the passenger side", said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. Check out the full list of models that qualify.

The IIHS which conducts crash tests and evaluates automobile safety standards says it's pleased with how well manufacturers are making the grade.

"The improvements in occupant protection have been awesome over the past decades", he said in a statement. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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