Latest News > 2012 Safest Cars, Trucks and SUVs with IIHS Top Crash Test Ratings - Video

2012 Safest Cars, Trucks and SUVs with IIHS Top Crash Test Ratings - Video

by Jerry Smith on

2013 IIHS Safest Vehicles    2011 IIHS Safest Vehicles

UPDATE August 15, 2012: Only two of eleven luxury cars pass new IIHS frontal crash test. Click here to see which models failed.

In addition to performance, features, and price, car buyers are increasingly concerned with safety, which is why a high ranking in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s annual safety tests translates into sales. The IIHS publishes data on the safest cars every year, putting new models through a battery of tests and naming the Top Safety Picks based on their crashworthiness in different situations, including:

Frontal offset test: In this test, a vehicle travels toward a deformable barrier made of honeycomb aluminum at 40 mph and strikes it in such a way that 40 percent of the vehicle hits the barrier on the driver’s side.

Side impact test: A 3300-pound barrier, about the weight of an SUV, hits the driver’s side of the test vehicle at 31 mph. The IIHS says this is a pretty severe test, and that people in comparable real-world crashes would be unlikely to emerge uninjured. But vehicles that pass the test give passengers a better chance of surviving without serious injuries.

Roof strength test: In this test a metal plate is pushed against one side of the roof at a constant speed. To earn a good rating the roof has to withstand a force of four times the vehicle’s weight before reaching five inches of crush.

Bumper evaluations: In addition to these tests, the IIHS conducts bumper evaluations that simulate low-speed collisions between two cars, and measures the geometry of the head restraints to see how well the vehicle protects occupants from neck injuries in a rear-end collision.

According to, “In all, 69 cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans, and 3 pickups earn Top Safety Pick. The award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute evaluations. The ratings, which cover all 4 of the most common kinds of crashes, help shoppers pick vehicles that offer the highest levels of crash protection. Because the federal government now requires all 2012 and later passenger vehicles to have electronic stability control to help drivers avoid loss-of-control crashes, ESC no longer is a requirement to win as it was in prior years.”

We’ll update the list with the newest rankings as they become available, so bookmark this page and come back often to see if the car you’re thinking of buying has earned a safety good grade. See the list of vehicles below the video.


Small cars

Midsize moderately priced cars

Midsize luxury/near luxury cars

Large family cars

Large luxury cars

Small SUVs

Midsize SUVs

Midsize luxury SUVs

Large SUVs


Large pickups

To learn more about each one of these vehicles, visit autoMedia's New Cars section with specs, pricing, mileage, images, and more.