In what’s become something of an annual tradition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has ratcheted up requirements for 2019 on its two influential crashworthiness awards: Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus. More than 50 models now meet either bar in IIHS’ first published round of testing, but more are likely to emerge over the next 12 months. That compares to the 80-plus nameplates that earned the designations for the 2018 awards.
Eight IIHS evaluations determine award eligibility. With four possible grades — good, acceptable, marginal or poor — five of them measure structural crashworthiness, one measures whiplash protection and another measures nighttime headlight effectiveness. The final test evaluates automatic emergency braking systems, but its results have a separate grading scale: superior, advanced, basic or none.