Safety is everything in the automotive world. Since the first vehicles began cresting the absurd speed of 50 mph, safety concerns escalated. We went from simply putting around town at the speed of a fast bicycle to blasting across multiple states on 70 mph freeways. Inevitably, crash tests were improved, safety features became imperative, and we began seeing some impressive changes in terms of vehicle safety systems. Now, these integrations can almost “sense” an accident and take action…the cars aren’t flying, yet, but we’re still holding out hope…
As consumers continue to pay close attention to fuel efficiency, safety features are drawing quite a bit of press. At the beginning of the year, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, also known as the IIHS, named 115 makes and models to their annual “Safety Standard” list, showing impressive improvement to a list that once had as few as 11 models. What’s interesting about the list is knowing that the IIHS isn’t listing the “Top” makes or models in terms of safety. Instead, they have a set of standards, and name all of the vehicles that pass the tests. It has truly become an information tool for consumers, and the potential for making the list continues to push automakers toward developing better safety features.
Why are we bringing this up, now, you ask? Solid question. In truth, we wanted to toss the listing out again, refreshing our memories in terms of who made it this year, and see if anyone slips, as another listing is due out in a couple of months.
Cream of the Crop
Toyota, as they often do, absolutely crushed it in the tests (every pun intended). The Camry won one of the prestigious “top picks” from the IIHS, even with an increase in the test difficulty. That would explain why the sedan remains one of the world’s top family sedans. But, they didn’t stand atop the testing pedestal alone. Honda and Acura added several models to the list, after poor showings in previous years. Subaru also enjoyed success with all of their North American models making the top safety list.
The Nissan Leaf has been raising eyebrows with some battery safety concerns, but after making the list for 2012, expect more improvements for 2013. The hybrid technology remains a “new” endeavor, relatively speaking, so it isn’t surprising that some issues have developed. Overall, however, the IIHS reminds us that the safety concerns have shown no noticeable pattern, meaning that we can likely expect more models to be added to the 2013 list.
What These Changes Mean for 2013
The vehicle list, which can be found on IIHS’s website, should expand for 2013. Consumers have united their voices to increase the demand for improved safety features. Now that the industry has truly become a global marketplace, the competition in gas mileage was just the beginning. The 2013 models will again be put through the proverbial ringer, and we’ll see which models come out on top. With 115 make/models already making the list, expect that number to grow – this sort of improvement is great for everyone involved!