The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just released its list of 2015 models with its highest possible score, the Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+) rating. The list contains 71 vehicles from all categories including SUVs, minivans, and cars of all sizes. Not a single Ford or GM model is on this list. Why?
Part of the reason is the IIHS has demoted some models that don’t meet its higher standards for excellence. To make the list for 2015, a vehicle must do well on the conventional crash tests, something every car now does. The vehicle must also do Acceptable or better on the difficult small frontal overlap test that simulates hitting a telephone pole with the front corner of the car. New for 2015 is the requirement that the vehicle also have available Advanced or Superior forward collision prevention. This requirement is what is holding back most GM and Ford models.
Among the 15 models booted off this year’s list for not having an advanced or higher rated forward crash prevention system are the Chevy Malibu, Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, Chevy Volt, and Ford Fusion. Still, that is only five models. Toyota’s brands offer a total of 15 models that earn the TSP+ rating this year. Tiny Subaru, who makes fewer vehicles overall than some individual Chevy models, has 5 TSP+ rated models. Even Mitsubishi, who is barely even participating in the US market, has a vehicle on the list. Were it not for the Chrysler 200’s TSP+ rating in the Moderately Priced Cars category, not a single “American” model would have made the list this year.
Not all of Chrysler’s models did so well. IIHS tested the Chrysler Town and Country Minivan in its small frontal overlap test and rated it poor. Commenting on the test of this most family-oriented of vehicles, IIHS spokesman David Zuby said “You wouldn’t want to be in the Chrysler Town in Country, or its twin, the Dodge Caravan in this type of crash.” By comparison, Toyota’s Sienna minivan is a Top Safety Pick + rated vehicle.