There is some good news for safety-minded new car buyers. Ninety 2021 model year vehicles have been recognized for their safety benefits. That’s a notable increase from last February, when 64 models were cited.
Volvo garnered the most picks in the top category, with nine cars. Hyundai Motor Group, including the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, earned 17 awards, the most overall. Five were in the top category and 12 were in the second category.
Only one automaker, Mitsubishi, failed to earn a single award. The automaker did not garner any wins last year either. General Motors came in with only two wins — one in each award category, “striking for such a large manufacturer.”
Those are the highlights of a new evaluation of 2021 models that aims to give consumers an efficient way to identify vehicles with the best level of safety available. The annual list was released on Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit financed by the insurance industry.
“With these awards, we want to make it easy for consumers to find vehicles that provide good protection in crashes, sufficient lighting and effective front crash protection,” David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute, said in a statement. “Manufacturers have stepped up to meet the challenge, and the list of great options has grown to an impressive size this year.”
Award categories include the first-tier, called Top Safety Pick+, the institute’s highest designation. This year there were 49 models recognized for providing the most advanced level of crash protection— more than double the number that earned that designation last year. In addition, two minivans, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, qualified for the top award
Another 41 vehicles earned Top Safety Pick, the basic award. The Ram 1500 crew cab, pickup truck, qualified for the award this year. It is the only winner in either category from Stellantis, the company created by the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot. Last year, there were no minivans or pickups on the list.
Both Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards identify the safest choices within size categories. (As a rule of thumb, however, larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones.)
Vehicles in both award categories were evaluated based on a variety of criteria in nine tests that assessed crash worthiness, front crash prevention (including both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle -to-pedestrian) and headlight performance.
To read about last year’s awards, click here.