Toyota claims most Top Safety Pick Plus awards for 2016

Toyota claims most Top Safety Pick Plus awards for 2016

Toyota has claimed the most Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2016.

A total of nine Toyota-built vehicles qualified for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top crashworthiness honors. Winners include the Toyota Prius v, Camry, Avalon and Rav4; the Lexus CT 200h, ES, RC and NX; and the Scion iA.

Honda was next on the list with eight winners, while Volkswagen/Audi fetched seven and Subaru landed six. Notably, the Chrysler 200 was the only domestic model to qualify for ‘Plus’ status entering 2016.

The IIHS rating system became a bit more stringent for the latest model year, narrowing the total list of winners down to 48 vehicles from all automakers. The biggest change involves performance in the small-overlap crash scenario. Vehicles from the 2015 model year can earn the top award with just an ‘acceptable’ rating in the challenging test, however 2016 editions must receive ‘good’ ratings in all tests.

To qualify for the ‘Plus’ designation, vehicles must also demonstrate ‘advanced’ or ‘superior’ behavior in the automatic emergency braking (AEB) assessment.

The changes appear to have pressured many automakers to include structural improvements and AEB technology for 2016-model-year redesigns and mid-cycle updates. A handful of models did not receive the necessary tweaks, however, including the Audi Q3, Toyota Highlander and Toyota Sienna, among others.

“As vehicles continue to improve … we think it’s important to recognize that progress and encourage further advances by making our ratings more stringent,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund. “This year’s winners are certainly safer than the vehicles that earned our first Top Safety Pick awards 10 years ago.”