top of page
  • Writer's pictureWB Payne Insurance

IIHS Safest Cars of 2020

If you’re shopping for a new car , you’ve got a lot of options and The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is here to help with their latest TOP SAFETY PICK awards. The IIHS, a nonprofit research and education organization, conducts crash tests to determine which vehicles do the best job of protecting people in the most common kinds of crashes — front, side, rollover and rear. They also evaluate other elements of vehicle safety, such as headlight ratings (which started in 2016) and crash avoidance technology. The results of all evaluations are organized by size and type on the IIHS website, from

minicars to large pickups. In the annual TOP SAFETY PICK awards, the IIHS announces which new models performed best in their evaluations. IIHS TOP SAFETY PICKS: WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020? The IIHS intentionally raises its standards as better technology and testing protocols become available. Making it a little tougher to earn a TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ award. Here’s what’s different in 2020:

  • Headlights: Good or acceptable headlights need to be standard equipment for vehicles earning the highest-tier TOP SAFETY PICK+ award. (For the lower-tier TOP SAFETY PICK award, the criteria remain the same as 2019: good or acceptable headlights need to be available, but not necessarily come standard.)

According to IIHS,,"Many more vehicles are available with headlights that illuminate an acceptable distance ahead without blinding oncoming drivers in 2020 than in previous years. Yet base models with headlights that earn a good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety remain rare. "Only 6 of the 156 models that IIHS has rated so far come with good-rated headlights across the board. On another 31 models, acceptable headlights are the lowest-rated ones that are offered. That marks a 7 percent increase over the number of 2019 models available exclusively with good or acceptable headlights. The 2020 results could change as the Institute evaluates additional models and manufacturers implement midyear changes."

  • Pedestrian crash prevention: Both TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners need to have an available automatic emergency braking system that earns an“advanced” or “superior” rating in front crash prevention for vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle crashes. (Previously, only the vehicle-to-vehicle rating was required.)

  • Crashworthiness: This is the first year that a good passenger-side small overlap front rating is required for both awards. "Last year, a good or acceptable rating was required for TOP SAFETY PICK, while a good rating was needed to achieve the “plus.”, The small overlap tests are designed to replicate what happens when just the front corner of the vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. These crashes present a challenge for some seat belt and airbag designs because occupants move both forward and to the side of the vehicle. In addition, crash forces can bypass the vehicle’s main crush-zone structures."-IIHS

For more details on how IIHS crash tests work (and what they look for), visit the safety ratings page on the IIHS website. THE 2020 TOP SAFETY PICK+ WINNERS This year, a total of 64 cars and SUVs achieved TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ status. Of those winners, 23 qualified for the top-tier “plus” award. Mazda earned five TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards, the most among automakers, for the Mazda 3 sedan, Mazda 3 hatchback, Mazda 6, CX-3 and CX-5. In the TOP SAFETY PICK category, Mazda picked up one more award for the CX-9. Hyundai Motor Group — which includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands — had the most winners overall. A total of 14 Hyundai vehicles earned a TOP SAFETY PICK award, and three more earned TOP SAFETY PICK+. For the full list of 2020 winners and ratings, visit INSURANCE FOR NEW AND USED CARS When you’re car shopping, it’s a good time to reevaluate your insurance, too. Learn more about auto insurance from W.B. Payne.

We’re eager to help you find coverage that’s the right fit for your car. Contact us to get the conversation started.

33 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page