As safety-minded readers may recall, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) earlier this year introduced a new testing procedure to its Top Safety Pick regimen. Called the “small overlap” test, it was designed to evaluate vehicle protection in head-on collisions in which the impact is concentrated on just one side of the vehicle’s front end; as could happen, for example, if the vehicle strikes a telephone pole or tree. The scenario is an important one to consider, since the IIHS reports that almost 25 percent of the frontal crashes that involve fatalities or serious injuries occur in exactly those kinds of circumstances.
Well, after initially running just a small sample of vehicles through the new evaluation procedure—passed by both the Volvo S60 and Acura TL—the IIHS has begun implementing the test across a wider range of entries for the 2013 model year, starting with some of the country’s most popular cars.
The first round of testing saw 11 “Midsize moderately priced cars” and two “Midsize luxury cars” do well enough to earn the IIHS’ newest accolade—Top Safety Pick+—although the list of winners may surprise some folks.