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The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) recently published its list of Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ winners for 2023. Vehicles earning these annual awards had to meet certain criteria regarding car safety, like performing well in the agency’s crash tests. They are also recognized for having advanced safety features.

On the latest list, only two standard hybrid models, as in models only available as hybrids, earned an award and appeared on this prestigious list. Which automakers and models are they?

The IIHS 2023 Top Safety Pick List

The Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS is a much sought-after distinction for consumers who value vehicle safety, according to U.S. News. Only vehicles that perform well in a series of crash tests earn the award, including front, side, rear impact, and rollover tests. Many consumers use the IIHS Top Safety Pick rating to help them make informed purchasing decisions. Vehicles earning this award have demonstrated by passing all rigorous safety tests, so they are most likely to provide strong protection in the event of a crash.

The Top Safety Pick rating also factors the availability of specific safety features like automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, which can assist vehicles in accident avoidance. Other important considerations are fuel efficiency, overall reliability, and price.

There are two levels of IIHS awards: the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+. 

To earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick award, the vehicle must have a rating of Good in all six crash tests with an Advanced or Superior rating for its available front crash prevention technology. The vehicle’s headlights must earn either a Good or Acceptable rating also.

To earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, the vehicle must meet all the criteria for the Top Safety Pick award with a Superior rating for front crash prevention technology and a Good headlight rating. 

The 2023 Toyota Sienna

A side profile shot of a silver 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition hybrid minivan in an empty warehouse
2023 Toyota Sienna | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The 2023 Toyota Sienna won a Top Safety Pick+ award in the minivan category. 

Yes, there are still a few minivans around. The Sienna has rugged exterior looks, excellent gas mileage thanks to its hybrid powertrain, and a refined driving experience, according to Car and Driver.

While the Sienna might be trying to pass itself off as an SUV, it’s hard to take issue with its refined ride and quiet cabin. Just be aware that the engine has a buzzy sound under heavy throttle. The Sienna is still a minivan with all the benefits that come with it. The interior is well-appointed and roomy, although you can’t remove the second row of seating. 

In its fourth generation, the Sienna is only available as a hybrid with front and all-wheel drive. Its fuel economy is impressive, with a 36 mpg combined rating.

The 2023 Toyota Venza

The 2023 Toyota Venza earned a Top Safety Pick award in the small SUV segment. An Average rating on the vehicle’s headlights kept it from earning the Top Safety Pick+ award. 

Car and Driver calls the Venza a RAV4 in a designer suit. They like its stylish exterior lines and its trick electrochromic panoramic roof. The two-row SUV is only available as a hybrid with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three electric motors, similar to the RAV4 Hybrid’s powertrain setup. It has all-wheel drive standard. The Venza’s fuel efficiency dominates the ratings of rivals such as the Honda Passport and Nissan Murano, both powered by V6 engines.

The 2023 Venza’s interior also beats the competition with better features, like the sunroof that changes from opaque to transparent with the touch of a button. Still, its sharp exterior styling tries to make up for the fact it only has a modest cargo area and tight passenger space.

Related Only 2 American Vehicles Snagged a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick Award

Only 2 American Vehicles Snagged a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick Award