The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced 13 vehicles that earn TOP SAFETY PICK awards for 2007. Winners include 4 cars, 7 SUVs, and 2 minivans. This award recognizes vehicles that achieve high ratings in front, side and rear crashes based on Institute tests. Winners also have to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC).Vehicles eligible to win are current small, midsize and large car models plus minivans and small and midsize SUVs. Pickups aren't included in this round of awards because the Institute hasn't begun to evaluate their side crashworthiness.The Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. The first requirement for a vehicle to become a TOP SAFETY PICK is to earn good ratings in all three Institute tests.A new requirement for 2007 is that the winning vehicles must offer ESC. This addition is based on Institute research indicating that ESC significantly reduces crash risk, especially the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes, by helping drivers maintain control of their vehicles during emergency maneuvers.WINNERSLarge car: Audi A6 manufactured in Dec. 2006 and laterMidsize cars: Audi A4, Saab 9-3, Subaru Legacy equipped with optional electronic stability controlMinivans: Hyundai Entourage, Kia SedonaLuxury SUVs: Mercedes M class, Volvo XC90Midsize SUVs: Acura RDX, Honda Pilot, Subaru B9 TribecaSmall SUVs: Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester equipped with optional electronic stability control
ALSO RANSAcceptable rear protection: Audi A3, BMW 3-series 4dr, Lexus IS 250/350Marginal rear protection: Acura TL, Honda Odyssey, Lexus ES 350, Lexus GS 350, Toyota Camry, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota Prius, Toyota RAV4Poor rear protection: Honda Accord 4dr, Infiniti M35, Nissan Quest, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Sienna
These vehicles earned good ratings in front and side crash tests. They have electronic stability control, standard or optional. They would have won 2007 TOP SAFETY PICK awards if their seat/head restraints also had earned good ratings.