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IIHS: The Safest Cars of 2023


If safety is a top priority when driving, look no further than the 2023 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS)TOP SAFETY PICK award list for your next vehicle.

This year’s list of 48 award winners is smaller than previous years, naming 28 models a TOP SAFETY PICK+ and another 20 vehicles as a TOP SAFETY PICK. This is due to tougher criteria and stricter requirements for crash protection and prevention systems.

In the annual TOP SAFETY PICK awards, the IIHS announces which new models performed best in their evaluations. The list is organized by size and type on the IIHS website.

How Are TOP SAFETY PICKS Determined?

Each year, the IIHS, a nonprofit research and education organization, conducts tests to determine how vehicles fair in two aspects of safety: crashworthiness and crash avoidance/mitigation. It also evaluates other elements of vehicle safety, such as headlight ratings.

The IIHS awarded winners in 8 size categories, from small cars to large pickups.

All award-winning models earned “good” ratings in six crashworthiness tests and offer trims (pre-packaged groups of features) with front-crash prevention systems with “advanced” or “superior” ratings. Every winner must also have at least one headlight system that earns a “good” or “acceptable” rating.

This year, IIHS updated their side crash test with an updated evaluation that was launched in 2021. TOP SAFETY PICK qualifiers must receive an “acceptable” or “good,” and “good” is required for the plus category. A new evaluation was added for TOP SAFETY PICK+ recipients: a nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test. Advanced or superior performance is required in both daytime and nighttime pedestrian tests for the higher award. Vehicles that received advanced or superior for only the daytime test received TOP SAFETY PICK.

Headlight requirements increased for the base award this year as well. Previously, only TOP SAFETY PICK+ recipients needed to have “good” or “acceptable” headlights standard on the vehicle. Now it is a requirement for both awards. If you’re looking to upgrade your headlights and aren’t sure where to start, check out our guide.

The roof strength, head restraint and vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention evaluations are no longer part of the award criteria. This is due to industry progress which has made these tests less relevant. Consumers can expect further changes to award criteria in 2024.

The 2023 TOP SAFETY PICK Winners

This year’s 48 overall picks are true standouts in terms of crashworthiness and crash prevention, according to IIHS President David Harkey.

Toyota Motor Corp., which includes the Toyota and Lexus brands, had the most 2023 awards overall and the most awards in each category — nine TOP SAFETY PICK+ and six TOP SAFETY PICK awards for a total of 15. Honda Motor Co., which includes the Acura and Honda brands, was next with six TOP SAFETY PICK+ and two TOP SAFETY PICK awards. Mazda earned six TOP SAFETY PICK awards.

By class, midsize luxury SUVs earned the most TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards, with nine, and small SUVs earned the most awards in total, with four TOP SAFETY PICK+ and eight TOP SAFETY PICK awards. However, vehicles of almost every size and class made the cut, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

For the full list of winners and ratings, visit

Insurance for New and Used Cars

Car shopping doesn’t just mean kicking tires and taking test drives. It’s also an ideal time to examine your auto insurance options. For both endeavors, here are a few articles from our blog that might help:

At ERIE, we want to help you find the right coverage for your ride—whether it’s new or used. Contact us today to start the conversation.

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The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

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Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.

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