Three large cars join the ranks of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick-Plus designation.
“The Top Safety Pick Plus winners have good ratings in all of our crash tests,” IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby explained. “They’re available with a front crash prevention system rated advanced or superior and headlights that are rated acceptable or good.”
Here’s how it works: Top marks mean drivers and passengers in each of the three models have a higher chance of survival if involved in an accident.
The top models include the 2017 Lincoln Continental and the redesigned Mercedes e-class. The Toyota Avalon was promoted to a Top Safety Pick Plus from a Top Safety pick because engineers improved the aim of headlights on models built after March.
“Cars that have better headlights are associated with fewer crashes,” Zuby said. “Better headlights help the driver see the road and potential obstacles on the road at night.”
The other three cars didn’t perform as well, and received “poor” ratings for their headlights.
But the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, and Tesla Model S all had “good” ratings in four of the five crash tests. All three of the cars also received “acceptable” performances in small overlap front crashes.
“A lot of the crash energy is concentrated on a part of the car that traditionally doesn’t have a lot of structure,” Zuby explained.
The Impala ranked higher in its front crash prevention system than the Taurus. The Tesla hasn’t yet been rated in that category.
You can see all the IIHS ratings here.