IIHS Names Safest Cars, SUVs, and Trucks for 2022

IIHS Names Safest Cars, SUVs, and Trucks for 2022

Starting next year, it’ll get even tougher to qualify for an award because vehicles will have to score well in two new tests that reflect the latest real-world dangers to motorists and other road users. It’s by design that the tests get tougher and tougher, according to IIHS President David Harkey.

“A key reason vehicles have continued to get safer over the more than 25 years since the [IIHS] began our ratings program is that we have never shied away from raising the bar,” Harkey said in a written statement. “The high number of Top Safety Pick+ winners shows that it’s time to push for additional changes.”

Wallace agrees. “By making standards more demanding over time, IIHS and Consumer Reports push automakers to continually improve vehicle safety, and we give well-deserved accolades to those that step up,” he says. “It’s a tried-and-true way to move the marketplace.”

For 2023, vehicles will need to earn a top Good score in a tougher side-impact test to be a Top Safety Pick+, and at least an Acceptable score to be a Top Safety Pick. In the IIHS’ first round of testing, only one vehicle out of 20 small SUVs earned this score. The new test is designed to replicate a higher-speed impact with a larger vehicle, such as a modern SUV or pickup, both of which are more common on American roads. It uses a crash sled that weighs 880 pounds more than the current one, and strikes at 37 mph, a notable increase from 31 mph.

The other test evaluates the nighttime performance of automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems with pedestrian detection. While the vast majority of new vehicles have AEB systems that are designed to automatically brake for pedestrians, tests—including by the IIHS—show that they can have trouble detecting moving pedestrians at night, when 73 percent of crashes involving pedestrians take place. For 2023, vehicles will need to earn an Advanced or Superior rating to qualify as a Top Safety Pick+.

“We’ve seen many more cars in recent years come standard with city-speed AEB and pedestrian detection systems, and that’s great news for safety,” Wallace says. “Now we’ll have stronger, independent testing to make sure these systems are effective in more challenging scenarios—and that they continue to improve over time.”