23 cars, SUVs get highest safety honors as pedestrian detection prioritized

IIHS calls Mazda, Hyundai standouts for 2020

To help car buyers make good choices, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its annual list of what it says are the safest vehicles. And, this year, the focus isn’t just on drivers and their passengers: pedestrians are high priority, too.

IIHS presented 23 vehicles its highest award of 2020 Top Safety Pick+. Another 41 vehicles were named Top Safety Picks.

For the first time, IIHS required automakers to offer pedestrian-detecting automatic emergency braking systems to receive the designations.

“This is really important because pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. have risen dramatically over the last several years,” said IIHS President David Harkey.

Nearly 6,300 pedestrians were killed in 2018.

IIHS evaluated more than 200 vehicles, putting them through six different crash test scenarios.

“Mazda and Hyundai were standouts this year,” Harkey said.

Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, had the most winners overall with 14.

Mazda had the most Top Safety Pick+ winners with five vehicles on the list, including the Mazda CX-3 SUV. Subaru was second with four vehicles on the list, including the Subaru Forester SUV. Others making the list included the Tesla Model 3, the Hyundai Nexo and the Lexus ES.

No minivans or pickups made either list due to a lack of automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian protection, Harkey said. That could change as automakers make mid-year changes.

Headlights were also high priority for the organization.

“The risk of being involved in a crash at night is much greater than it is during the day," Harkey said.

2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners:

Small cars: Honda Insight, Mazda 3 hatchback, Mazda 3 sedan, Subaru Crosstrek hybrid

Midsize cars: Mazda 6, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback (built after October 2019), Toyota Camry

Midsize luxury cars: Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Tesla Model 3

Large luxury cars: Audi A6, Genesis G70 (built after December 2019), Genesis G80

Small SUVs: Mazda CX-3, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester

Midsize luxury SUVs: Acura RDX, Cadillac XT6 (built after October 2019), Hyundai Nexo, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (built after July 2019)

2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick winners:

Small cars: Honda Civic coupe, Civic hatchback, Civic sedan, Hyundai Elantra, Elantra GT, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Subaru Crosstrek, Subaru Impreza sedan, Impreza wagon, Subaru WRX, Toyota Corolla sedan, Corolla hatchback

Midsize cars: Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima

Midsize luxury cars: BMW 3 series, Volvo S60

Large car: Kia Stinger

Large luxury car: Audi A7

Small SUVs: Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Tuscon, Kia Sportage, Lexus UX, Lincoln Corsair, Toyota RAV4, Volvo XC40

Midsize SUVs: Ford Edge, Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Tiguan

Midsize luxury SUV: Lexus RX

Large SUV: Audi Q8

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