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IIHS releases its annual top safety picks list

Sixty-four cars earned a top safety pick award and 23 of them got the higher honor of top safety pick plus.

How safe is your car? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is out with its list of the safest vehicles.

To earn a Top Safety Pick, vehicles must perform well in six different crash tests. The IIHS also measures roof strength and evaluates whether headlights provide good vision. This year, 64 vehicles earned a Top Safety Pick award, seven more than last year. And 23 received the highest honor of Top Safety Pick+. David Harkey, president of the IIHS said,  "It is an encouraging sign, particularly since we raised the bar a little bit this year."

Harkey said vehicles had to meet a higher standard in crash tests. They also were required to have pedestrian detection systems that can prevent an accident.

Of all the automakers, Mazda took home the most Top Safety Pick+ awards with five:
Mazda3 Sedan
Mazda3 Hatchback
Mazda6
CX-3
CX-5

Subaru had four Top Safety Pick+ awards:
Crosstrek hybrid
Legacy
Outback – built after October 2019
Forester

GM's Cadillac XT6 (built after October 2019) and Tesla’s Model 3 were the only U.S. car company to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award.

Hyundai had one model that was given the Top Safety Pick+ (Nexo) and eight models that earned a Top Safety Pick award:
Kona – with optional front crash protection and specific headlights
Tucson - with optional front crash protection and specific headlights
Elantra - with optional front crash protection and specific headlights
Elantra GT - with optional front crash protection and specific headlights
Veloster - with optional front crash protection and specific headlights
Palisade - with specific headlights
Santa Fe - with specific headlights
Sonata - with specific headlights

Harkey said "I do think that vehicles are as safe as we've ever seen them." But he said carmakers can do even better: "I think the biggest thing that we would like to see an improvement on is headlights." He would like to see top performing headlights become standard on all vehicles, giving drivers a better chance at avoiding an accident in the first place.

Click here for a full list of cars that earned IIHS awards.