These Are the Safest Vehicles in 2023, IIHS Says

The U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just released its list of the safest vehicles of 2023 and far fewer names appear on it than in previous years.

Why? Because the IIHS has strengthened its requirements for the Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards. Only 28 models earn the former this year compared to 65 in 2022 and 49 in 2021, while 20 are good enough to secure the latter compared to 36 and 41 in the last two years.

The biggest change to the criteria for both awards is the replacement of the original IIHS side crash test with the updated evaluation, which aims to address higher-speed collisions that continue to cause fatalities on North American roads. As we’ve previously reported, a lot of vehicles fail to achieve a satisfying score in this new test.

The IIHS also requires improved pedestrian crash prevention systems. For example, advanced or superior performance is needed in both the nighttime and daytime pedestrian tests to qualify for the top award. As for headlights, both awards now require acceptable or good headlights as standard across all trims. 

Top Safety Pick+

Acura Integra
Acura RDX
Acura MDX
Genesis G90
Honda CR-V
Honda HR-V
Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Palisade
Infiniti QX60
Kia Telluride
Lexus NX
Lexus NX 450h+
Lexus RX
Lexus UX
Nissan Pathfinder
Rivian R1T
Subaru Ascent
Subaru Outback
Subaru Solterra (Built after October 2022)
Tesla Model Y
Toyota Camry (built after January 2023)
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Sienna
Toyota Tundra (Double Cab)
Toyota Tundra (CrewMax Cab)
Volkswagen ID.4
Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 Recharge

Top Safety Pick

Ford Explorer
Honda Civic
Honda Civic Hatchback (except Type R)
Hyundai Sonata
Lexus ES 350
Lincoln Nautilus
Mazda3 Sport

Mazda CX-5
Mazda CX-9
Mazda CX-30
Mazda CX-50
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Forester
Subaru Legacy
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4 Prime
Toyota Venza

“The number of winners is smaller this year because we’re challenging automakers to build on the safety gains they’ve already achieved,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “These models are true standouts in both crashworthiness and crash prevention.”

Keep in mind that some new vehicles have yet to be tested by the IIHS, but they could join the list later in 2023.

Further changes to the award criteria will be coming next year. Among others, the IIHS will require a good or acceptable rating in the updated moderate overlap front crash test, taking into account protection for second-row occupants.

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