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These 2 Automakers Beat Everyone Else When It Comes to Safety

Each year, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety puts the newest models to the test. Those that score well will earn a spot on their list of Top Safety Picks and Top Safety Picks+. These lists show consumers which companies designed their cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles to keep drivers and passengers safe on the road.

While some companies only have a few of their vehicles making it on one of the lists, some really outshine the others by making it on the list several times. The list for 2020 saw two automakers rise to the occasion with quite a few between both lists. Who are they, what vehicles got them there, and what sort of criteria should they meet to get on these lists? The IIHS shows how vehicles fared in the 2020 model year.

What criteria must be met to earn safety awards for IIHS?

A Hyundai Nexo is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview at Messe Wien
The Hyundai Nexo, one of the automaker’s safest vehicles | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

The vehicles that earn Top Safety Pick designations must get good ratings on all six evaluations they perform. This includes the vehicle-to-vehicle tests as well as the vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Also, they need to have front crash prevention available for consumers, which earns ratings of acceptable or superior. To earn the Top Safety Pick+ awards, the vehicles need to come with headlights that have good or acceptable ratings.

When looking at the list for 2020, you’ll find a variety of SUVs and cars. But what you won’t find are pickups and minivans. None of them made the list. Some automakers made it to the Safety Pick list, but not the Pick+. The two automotive companies that earned the most on both lists combined are Mazda and Hyundai.

Which Mazda and Hyundai vehicles earned those awards?

For the Top Safety Pick+, Mazda has two cars that won an award in the small car category, each of them is a Mazda3. One of them is a hatchback and the other is a sedan. The small SUV category also has two Mazdas on the list. The CX-3 is one of them, and the other is the CX-5. The last one on the list is the Mazda6 in the midsize sedan category. Hyundai has only one under this award and it’s the Nexo, which is the automaker’s midsize luxury SUV.

For the Top Safety Pick category, Mazda only has one model, and that’s the CX-9, which falls under the midsize SUV list with the front crash prevention option. Hyundai has several that earned this award. In the small car category, the Elantra and Elantra GT both won. The Veloster is also on the small car list, earning one of these safety awards.

For midsize sedans, only the Sonata falls on their list of top award winners. When it comes to SUVs, though, Hyundai really took it home. The Kona and Tucson fell on their small SUV list, while the Palisade and the Santa Fe earned the award for Hyundai’s midsize SUVs.

How did other vehicles fare on the safety awards list?

Subaru didn’t do too bad with four of their vehicles earning the Top Safety Pick+ awards. The Legacy, Outback, Crosstrek, Hybrid, and the Forester are all on the list. Mercedes-Benz and Genesis both have two vehicles earning this award – the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan and the GLE-class (built after July 2019). We also find Genesis G70, and the G80 are also among the greats on this list. Only one Tesla earned this award, and that’s the Model 3.

For the Top Safety Pick award, Kia, Honda, and Subaru left with quite a few awards. Kia has six vehicles that got them on the list – the Forte, Soul, Sportage, Stinger, Sorento, and the Telluride. Subaru has its own impressive number of winners, landing on the list five times. You’ll find the Crosstrek, Ascent, WRX, and the Impreza sedan as well as the wagon. Honda also five on the list. Their vehicles include three versions of the Civic – the sedan, coupe, and hatchback. They also have the Accord and the CR-V SUV.

While this list puts some of these automakers in a pretty sour light, it’s not set in stone. These companies could make changes mid-year and have them retested, which, depending on the outcome, could add them to one of the greats that already reside on the list.