These Are The Safest Cars And SUVs Of 2022

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just revealed the winners of its 2022 Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards. Awarded to a total of 101 vehicles, the awards are given following rigorous testing and are useful both for buyers and automakers. As car manufacturers continue improving the safety measures in their vehicles in order to obtain the Top Safety Pick+ award, safety-conscious buyers know which makes to gravitate towards.

The IIHS notes that there has been an increase in the number of cars that won the award in 2022 versus the number of winners in 2021. This year, 65 car models received the Top Safety Pick+ award, deeming them the safest on the market, and 36 models earned the lower-tier Top Safety Pick, adding up to 101 cars overall. These numbers were smaller last year, with a total of 90 cars that scored any award and only 49 recognized by the Top Safety Pick+.

In order to earn one of the IIHS awards, the vehicles are tested and rated in six different crashworthiness tests, including driver and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, head restraint tests, and roof strength. Good or acceptable headlights are required to score the top award, and the majority of vehicles showed improvements in this department compared to last year — a total of 31 cars were rated "good" where headlights are concerned, according to the institute.

Which cars won the IIHS Top Safety Pick awards?

Hyundai Motor Group managed to snag the most awards this year, spanning across its Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands. Eleven of the 65 Top Safety Pick+ and 10 of the base Top Safety Pick awards went to the Hyundai Motor Group. Hyundai has also snagged an award for its Kia Carnival minivan, and it's worth noting that the Carnival is one of only four minivans to win this year. Volkswagen Group is the second to receive the most awards, with a total of 11 — eight "Plus" awards and three lower-tier awards. Volvo is trailing closely behind with 10 awards.

Aside from the Kia Carnival, three more minivans were recognized this year, compared to just two in 2021: the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and the Chrysler Pacifica. There are also four pickup trucks, and according to the IIHS, only one of them initially qualified for the award during the first 2021 Top Safety Pick announcement. This proves that automakers are, indeed, striving to meet the qualifications required to receive the award.

The IIHS has shared a full list of vehicles that received this year's award, including SUVs, luxury cars, small cars, midsize cars, and even minivans. The list consists of a number of car makes, including models from Subaru, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai (including the 2021 Hyundai Elantra which we thoroughly enjoyed), Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Audi, Kia, Acura, Genesis, Mazda, and Volvo. Tesla's Model Y has also made it onto the list, which is good news for the company, given its recent massive recalls due to various malfunctions.

Next year's award will be harder to obtain

Alongside the list of winners, the IIHS has shared a bit of news in regards to next year's awards. This year, the criteria were the same as in 2021, but starting in 2023, the IIHS is planning to ask even more of the cars it inspects. The new tests include an updated side test that the IIHS added in 2021 and a nighttime pedestrian crash prevention test. The latter will not be required for the lower-tier Top Safety Pick Award in 2023, but completing it will be necessary for the automakers who want to win the Plus award.

The side test, starting from 2023, will be conducted at a higher speed and the cars will have to face up against a heavier barrier. The vehicles will have to score either an acceptable or a good rating in order to qualify for the base award, but the Plus will be reserved for the cars that manage to hit the highest (good) mark.

The Institute has pointed out that we've seen improvements in headlight quality over the years, and it continues to ramp up the requirements in order to make top-notch headlights a standard. Starting in 2023, only vehicles equipped with either good or acceptable headlights will be eligible to win either award, regardless of the other criteria. The IIHS notes that all of these improvements are needed, if only to increase road safety in the U.S., where traffic fatalities are still much too high.