The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its top safety picks 2011 for vehicle models. More than 70 models are on the list including 15 subcompact and compact models, a new record. The IIHS considers these models the safest 2011 small cars. This award is an important designation as auto manufacturers use it to promote and sell their products. Safety is an important consideration for new car buyers.
The IIHS considers a model’s crash worthiness in making the ratings. Cars are tested for their performance in 30-40 mph front and side crashes, a rollover crash, and evaluation of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts of 20 mph. To make the 2011 list, a car model had to offer electronic stability control and receive a “Good” rating on all tests.
The IIHS has four different rating grades for vehicle models: good, acceptable, marginal or poor, based upon their performance in the above tests. History demonstrates that models that get “poor” ratings face considerable negative publicity and adverse affects on their sales. Car models are grouped by size and type on the list.
Automakers are quick to respond to the ratings. They want their cars to be on the top safety pick list and will make changes during the model year to address deficiencies. For example, at the beginning of the 2010 model year, only 27 vehicle models qualified for the award, but the number grew to 58 models on the list by the end of the model year as automakers reworked and tested their designs and introduced new models. However, some models have exceptions meaning that only certain trim lines or models with certain features qualified for the top safety pick designation.
There are several reasons for the increase in the number of models on the list in 2011. New federal laws requiring new cars having electronic stability control (ESC) are soon to take effect. Most new car models now offer standard ESC, traction control, ABS brakes, and driver, passenger, and side airbags. Also, automakers have worked to improve the roof structures in their cars.
According to the IIHS, the safest 2011 small care are: Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic 4-door models (except SI) with optional ESC, Kia Forte Sedan, Kia Soul, Mazda Mazda3 built after December 2010 (sedan and hatchback), Mini Cooper Countryman, Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive), Nissan Cube, Scion tC, Scion xB, Subaru Impreza (except WRX) sedan and wagon, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf 4-door models, and Volkswagen GTI 4-door models.
The Ford Fiesta (built after July 2010) sedan and hatchback and Volvo C30 both made the Top Safety Pick list but are classified as being in the “minicars” and “midsize cars” classes, respectively.
Japanese models fared well in small car safety ratings, comprising more than half of the models in the “small cars” category. More car models may be added to the list if they qualify later this model year. To learn more about these safest 2011 small cars and other models, the IIHS has nearly 200 2011 models rated on its website at http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx.
Originally posted 2011-04-05 16:29:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter