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IIHS safety ratings

IIHS tests evaluate two aspects of safety: crashworthiness — how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash — and crash avoidance and mitigation — technology that can prevent a crash or lessen its severity.

To determine crashworthiness, we rate vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor, based on performance in six tests: driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints.

In the area of crash avoidance and mitigation, vehicles with available front crash prevention systems are rated basic, advanced or superior, based on the type of system and performance in track tests. We also test headlights and rate them good, acceptable, marginal or poor.

Rewarding excellence

The vehicles that perform best in our tests qualify for our two safety awards.
Browse current and previous winners by year.

2017 TSP

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests — driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

2017 TSP+

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must meet the same criteria and also earn an acceptable or good headlight rating.

Vehicle LATCH and booster seat ratings

Our main vehicle ratings include results of our LATCH evaluations, which show which models have easy-to-use child restraint installation hardware. For older kids, our booster seat ratings identify boosters that provide good safety belt fit.

Safe vehicles for teens

Looking for a safe used vehicle for your teenage driver? If a new model isn't in your budget, consult our list of recommended used vehicles for teens.

Truck underride guards

We crash a midsize car into the backs of parked semitrailers to make sure the rear underride guards work. Trailers whose guards prevent underride in all three of our tests earn the IIHS TOUGHGUARD award.

Shopping for a safer car

Buying a new or used vehicle? Learn how to compare car, minivan, pickup and SUV models on safety, including how to use crash test ratings and what features to look for.

Crash avoidance technologies

Technology can help avoid crashes. Find out which vehicles come with standard or optional forward collision warning, autobrake, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, adaptive headlights and blind spot detection.

Electronic stability control

ESC cuts in half the the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash. It's been required since the 2012 model year, but if you're buying a used vehicle, check our database to make sure it comes with this important safety feature.

Side airbags

Side airbags that protect both the head and chest provide crucial protection. Most 2008 and later models have them. Consult our database to find out the type of side airbags available in a specific vehicle.

About our tests

The moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests form the basis of our crashworthiness ratings. We also test vehicles with autobrake systems to rate them for front crash prevention. Learn how these tests are done.

Test protocols and technical information

Transparency is one of the keys to the success of our ratings program. All of our test protocols are available here.

Explore our Vehicle Research Center

Take a look at our world-class crash test facility, located in central Virginia.

Insurance losses by make and model

Compare loss information for hundreds of vehicles under six types of coverage for damage, injuries and theft.

Driver death rates

We've computed the number of drivers killed in crashes per million registered vehicle years for more than 150 models.

©1996-2016, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org