Safest Rides on the Road
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its Top Safety Picks for 2011. We identify the most notable winners and list the rest.
What a difference a year makes. When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its Top Safety Picks for 2010, just 27 vehicles made the cut, a fraction of the average lineup. Whole categories were knocked out of the running by the addition of a rollover test, and industry giant Toyota and its Scion and Lexus brands were shut out entirely. To their credit, automakers rose to the challenge, revamping and retesting scores of models throughout 2010 to meet the new criteria. Let's call it a rebuilding year. As of this writing, the IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2011 include 66 vehicles, with every major automaker showing up in at least one category.
Here are the 10 most notable picks, as well as a breakdown of all the winners.
One of the more bruised categories returns to form, going from a paltry four selections in 2010 to 12 this year.
There's little exceptional about the Avalon, a full-size sedan that emphasizes roomy creature comforts over head-turning design. What is worth noting is that the Avalon made the IIHS list, while Toyota's biggest sellers, the Camry and Corolla, did not.
|Buick LaCrosse||Infiniti M37/M56 (except M56x 4-wheel drive)|
|Buick Regal||Lincoln MKS|
|BMW 5-Series (except 4-wheel drive and V8)||Mercedes E-Class coupe|
|Cadillac CTS sedan||Mercedes E-Class sedan|
|Ford Taurus||Volvo S80|
The midsize category was the only one with a strong showing in the 2010 list, and this year an additional five models passed muster, for a total of 15 Top Safety Picks.
Big changes are in the works for Chrysler and Dodge as Fiat attempts to pull this struggling company into profitability, which means the low-selling Avenger might not survive past 2012. But that's tomorrow. Today, the Avenger is one of four vehicles in the Chrysler Group to receive top honors from the IIHS, along with the Chrysler 200, Dodge Journey and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Not only are Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia muscling in on Honda's and Toyota's sales in the United States and grabbing headlines with the Equus' owner's-manual-on-an-iPad gimmick, but their reputation for quality is on the rise, and has been for more than a decade. Optima's selection — it's new to the list, joining the Sonata in this same category — is further proof that safety and affordability are not mutually exclusive.
|Audi A3||Mercedes C-Class|
|Audi A4 sedan||Subaru Legacy|
|Chevrolet Malibu||Subaru Outback|
|Chrysler 200 4-door||Volkswagen Jetta sedan|
|Ford Fusion||Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen|
|Hyundai Sonata||Volvo C30|
From five models last year to 11 for 2011, the small-car category has made a minor comeback, thanks to a mix of old standbys, such as the Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza, and a few newcomers to the IIHS top picks, such as the Scion tC and the Volkswagen GTI 4-door.
Detroit isn't going down without a fight, and domestic automakers seem determined to show that they can respond to a changing market. The new Chevrolet Cruze, a nimble, turbocharged little 4-door whose fuel efficiency, at 36 mpg combined, rivals that of many hybrids, manages to cram 10 airbags into its small frame, including ones that protect the knees. This is how a car can and should debut.
|Honda Civic 4-door (except Si) with optional electronic stability control||Scion tC|
|Kia Forte sedan||Scion xB|
|Kia Soul||Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback (except WRX)|
|Mitsubishi Lancer (except 4-wheel drive)||Volkswagen Golf 4-door|
|Nissan cube||Volkswagen GTI 4-door|
The laws of physics are stacked against this category. Very small cars fare poorly in collisions with even average-sized vehicles, which are nearly always larger and heavier and often ride high enough to wreak havoc on lower-slung subcompacts. There has never been more than one IIHS top pick for minicars.
The Fiesta has stormed the automotive world, earning almost universally positive reviews among journalists and helping to redefine Ford's image around the world. It was a finalist for World Car of the Year in 2009, losing out to the VW Golf. And since the IIHS added the roof-strength test, the Fiesta — sedan and hatchback versions built after July 2010 — has survived what the previous winner, the Honda Fit, could not.
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Right on Non-Par!
All of the Japanese car haters can't seem to let soak in all of the American jobs that are being provided by the Japanese companies. Toyota alone employs 81,000 americans. They just keep using the same old argument that all of the profits from those sales are going back to Japan and it's simply not true. The vast majority of that money is being pumped into our economy. Buying a Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi etc. is supporting America just as much as buying a Chevy, Ford or Chrysler these days.
This whole argument is getting rather old. Buy whatever you want and forget about what your neighbor has purchased, it's none of your business and your rants aren't going to change anyone's mind. Let it go.
WS6 Trans Am --- I wouldn't call anyone else a fool if I were you. Your last question makes YOU qualify as the fool.
Anyone that knows anything about cars knows that, FOR YEARS, yes, the crumple zones have been in the front and back of cars. And, when you have a serious front end collision like Didi Paano did, the engine and trans axel drop down at the part closest to the windshield and goes UNDER the car.
I worked in the Automotive industry for 27 years before I retired. And, if the customer would pay more attention to what the salesperson told them, they would know that. If you drip spittle on the new car and shut out all the information that the salesperson gives you and you do not follow up by reading the owners manual, then you will be left in the world of the ignorant every time.
So, be careful who you call a fool. And, try to do something like I just did. Speak only on subject that you have knowledge in.
WOW, the shallowness and closed mindedness of some of these people is amazing. Let me get this straight, the corporation is located here but the assembly plants are in Mexico or Canada or in some other country providing a paycheck for a foreigner and his family, SO purchasing that product makes you patriotic by putting money into the pocket of that CEO, CFO or another corporate employee in USA. BUT if I buy a product that is built by Americans and am putting money in the pocket of a red blooded, blue collar American worker but the corporation that he works for is in another country, I'm unpatriotic??? Can you please explain to me why one is more patriotic than the other, preferably without your third grade name calling???
And why is it that so many people harbor so much hatred for anything that didn't come from America? This country has ALWAYS relied on global trading, right from it's beginning when we needed people to buy our Tobacco and lumber and we needed to purchase supplies from them as well. The mentality of "Don't buy their stuff" is a dead end and can never work. Never has and never will. This country would go straight down the toilet if if other countries stopped purchasing our goods so keep up your ignorant attitudes and you better HOPE they don't pick up on it and try to be like you!!!
Chaspay, does that include the Fords made in Mexico and the Chevy's built in Canada? And you do know that it's only the 'Big Two' since Chrysler is Italian and the 'new' 200 is mostly a re-named Sebring, right? How about all the domestic Toyotas, Mitsus, Hondas, BMWs, etc, that are built by Americans? You'd rather support the corporations than American workers? Waving the flag is one thing but understanding who, and what, it represents is another.