CARS.COM — For 2016 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made it tougher get the Top Safety Pick Plus designation, its highest award. Automakers are stepping up to the challenge. The safety agency announced today that model-year 2016 Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima sedans as well as the 2016 Lexus RX SUV are all on its Top Safety Pick Plus list.
The Civic and RX were redesigned for 2016 and feature an optional front crash prevention system that IIHS rates as superior. The Sonata and the Altima were not redesigned for 2016, but IIHS says structural improvements were made to these vehicles to raise their crash test scores and allow them qualify for the award.
Previously, the Sonata and Altima scored an acceptable rating in the challenging small front overlap test. For 2016 IIHS raised this score to good. However, IIHS cautions buyers of the Sonata that the improvements were made after model-year 2016 production was already underway, so the award only applies to sedans built after October. You can find a vehicle’s build date on a sticker on or near the driver’s side door.
To qualify for Top Safety Pick Plus status, vehicles must earn good scores in all of the agency’s crash tests as well as offer a front crash prevention system rated at advanced or superior. To earn the second-tier Top Safety Pick designation, vehicles must pass all crash tests with good scores but only have to offer a basic-rated front crash prevention system.