"When the institute launched the top safety pick award for crash test performance back in 2005, only 11 models made that initial cut," said Adrian Lund of The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Now consumers have more than 100 models to choose from, and the requirements to win the top safety pick are much tougher than they were back in 2005."
Automakers have taken notice of the stringent testing by the Institute and safety is a big selling point with consumers. As a result, manufacturers have become more committed to protecting people in crashes.
"In 2010 we added a roof strength test. In response, the manufacturers stepped up to the plate, they redesigned their roofs and made big strides in offering better roll-over protection to their occupants," Lund said.
This year, 69 cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans and 3 pick-up trucks earned the title of safest vehicles in their category. In fact, every major automaker has at least one winner this year, with Subaru the only manufacturer earning an award for every model it builds.
Making the most improvement this year from last is Honda and Acura.
"Honda deserves credit for making the most improvements. They upgraded the roofs of 10 models that missed the award last year only because of roll-over protection," Lund said.