15 Best Safest Cars for 2018 from BMW, Toyota, Hyundai, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz & Kia

IIHS has increased the safety requirements for the Top Safety Pick + award for 2018 model-year vehicles to include good or acceptable passenger-side overlap crash tests and  good-rated headlights. So far, only 15 vehicles were awarded the Top Safety Pick + awards this year.

IIHS developed the passenger-side small overlap front crash test after it observed that manufacturers weren’t paying sufficient attention to the passenger side as they made improvements to achieve better performance in the driver-side small overlap front test.

The first official passenger-side ratings were released in October, following research tests last year.

To be award Top Safety Pick+ vehicles must also have good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

Winners Top Safety Pick+ in Alphabetical Order:

  • BMW: 5 Series
  • Hyundai: Sante Fe Sport, Santa Fe
  • Genesis: G80, G90
  • Kia: Kia Forte, Kia Soul
  • Lincoln: Continental
  • Mercedes-Benz: E-Class Sedan, GLC Luxury SUV
  • Subaru:  Impreza, Legacy, Outback and WRX qualify for Top Safety Pick+ when equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights.
  • Toyota: Camry

Most of the Top Safety Pick+ awards go to two manufacturers: Hyundai Motor Co. — which owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands — has six models earning the award, and Subaru has four. Mercedes-Benz has two, while Toyota, BMW and Ford Motor Co. have one each.

The 15 Top Safety Pick+ winners include four small cars, three midsize cars, five large luxury cars, two midsize nonluxury SUVs and one midsize luxury SUV. No minivans, pickups or minicars earn the highest award. Models from a wider range of vehicle types earn Top Safety Pick, but there are no minicars in that category either.

47 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick award, which now requires acceptable or good headlights. Last year, headlights weren’t factored in for 2017 Top Safety Pick, and an acceptable headlight rating was enough to bump a 2017 award winner into “plus” territory.

Automakers have pledged to make autobrake standard on virtually all passenger vehicles by 2022, but for now the technology remains mostly optional, especially on nonluxury brands.

An exception is Toyota, which has equipped all but a handful of Toyota and Lexus models with standard autobrake and other advanced features. Seven models with standard autobrake — the Toyota Camry, Corolla, Prius, Prius Prime and Highlander and the Lexus IS and NX — also have standard acceptable or good headlights and qualify for Top Safety Pick without any added options.

The Institute releases ratings as it evaluates new models, adjusting the list of winners throughout the year. By fall of 2017, 69 vehicles had earned 2017 Top Safety Pick+ and 51 had earned 2017 Top Safety Pick.