IIHS Top Safety Pick, Pick+ criteria get tougher — here’s the new list of 2023 winners

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been updating its testing and criteria for its Top Safety Pick awards. The organization has fully implemented its tough new side-impact test and is also testing for night-time pedestrian detection for collision warning and prevention systems. Strong performance in both areas is necessary for the best Top Safety Pick+ award, along with yet more improved headlight performance. Unsurprisingly, the more demanding requirements have shrunk the list of award recipients — 48 vehicles, which is down from 101 l ast year.

To get the basic Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must now earn a top “Good” rating in the standard battery of frontal offset crash tests. In the new side-impact test, which uses a heavier ram vehicle to better emulate crashes with heavier modern cars, vehicles must get a “Good” or second-highest “Acceptable” rat ing. With crash prevention technology, vehicles must have “Advanced” or “Superior” performance and technology when avoiding collisions with pedestrians. This has been included due to pedestrian deaths being a significant part of rising traffic fatalities. Finally, headlights with “Acceptable” or “Good” ratings must be standard on all models, so models that had poor performing lights in one trim aren’t eligible anymore.

For Top Safety Pick+, the requirements are naturally tougher. Only a “Good” rating is accepted for the side-impact test, and vehicles also have to have “Advanced” or “Superior” pedestrian crash prevention ratings at night in addition to the day.

The new requirements have significantly shortened the list of Top Safety Pick recipients. With last year’s testing, 101 vehicles earned awards. Now just 48 do, with 28 of them still managing to nab the Top Safety Pick+ award. Many vehicles that previous had that coveted “+” have also been demoted to the regular award. Toyota (including Lexus) currently has the most new awards at 15 followed by Honda (including Acura) with 8, Mazda with 6 (IIHS counts two body styles of Mazda3 separately) and then Subaru with 5. The whole list of winners at the time of writing is listed below. IIHS counts some body styles and powertrains as separate models …

IIHS Top Safety Picks

Small cars

Midsize cars

Midsize luxury car

Small SUVs

Midsize SUVs

Midsize luxury SUV

  • Lincoln Nautilus

IIHS Top Safety Pick+

Small car

  • Acura Integra

Midsize cars

  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry (built after January 2023)

Large luxury car

  • Genesis G90

Small SUVs

  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda HR-V
  • Lexus UX
  • Subaru Solterra (built after October 2022)

Midsize SUVs

  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Kia Telluride
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Volkswagen ID.4

Midsize luxury SUVs

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Infiniti QX60
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus NX Plug-in Hybrid
  • Lexus RX
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Volvo XC90
  • Volvo XC90 Recharge


  • Honda Odyssey
  • Toyota Sienna

Large pickups

  • Rivian R1T crew cab
  • Toyota Tundra crew cab
  • Toyota Tundra extended cab

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