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Criteria: The Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. To earn Top Safety Pick for 2010 a vehicle must have good ratings in all four Institute tests. In addition, the winning vehicles must offer electronic stability control. This requirement 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.

However, don't compare ratings across vehicle size groups because size and weight influence occupant protection in serious crashes. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Top Safety Picks are the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories, but this doesn't mean a small car that's a Top Safety Pick affords more protection than a bigger car that doesn't earn the award.

Note: Top Safety Picks 2010 are 2010 models, unless otherwise noted.

Large cars

Buick LaCrosse
Buick Regal (2011 models)
BMW 5 series (2011 models except 4-wheel drive and V8)
Cadillac CTS sedan (2011 models)
Ford Taurus
Hyundai Genesis (built after 1/10)
Infiniti M37/M56 2011 models (except M56x 4-wheel drive)
Lincoln MKS
Mercedes E class sedan (built after 4/10)
Toyota Avalon (2011 models)
Volvo S80

Midsize cars

Audi A3
Audi A4 sedan
Chevrolet Malibu (built after 11/09)
Chrysler Sebring 4-door models (with optional electronic stability control)
Dodge Avenger (with optional electronic stability control)
Ford Fusion (built after 4/10)
Hyundai Sonata (2011 models)
Lincoln MKZ (built after 4/10)
Mercedes C class
Mercury Milan (built after 4/10)
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan and SportWagen
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Volvo C30

Minicars

Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback (2011 models built after 7/10)

Minivans

Toyota Sienna (2011 models)

Small cars

Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si & with optional electronic stability control)
Kia Forte sedan (built after 10/09)
Kia Soul
Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive)
Nissan Cube
Scion xB
Subaru Impreza sedan and wagon (except WRX)
Toyota Corolla
Volkswagen Golf (4-door models)

Midsize SUVs

Audi Q5
Cadillac SRX (built after 5/10)
Chevrolet Equinox (built after 3/10)
Dodge Journey
Ford Flex (built after 1/10)
GMC Terrain (built after 3/10)
Jeep Grand Cherokee (2011 models)
Kia Sorento 2011 models (built after 3/10)
Lexus RX
Lincoln MKT (built after 3/10)
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Venza
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs

Honda Element
Hyundai Tucson
Kia Sportage <(2011 models)
Jeep Patriot (with optional side torso airbags)
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

Posted 4:49 PM  View Comments

Tags: cars, auto, safety
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