A record 115 vehicle models earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 2012 Top Safety Pick award, with vehicles in almost every size category earning the designation.
The winners include 69 cars, 38 SUVs, five minivans and three pickups. To earn the award, vehicles must earn good ratings in safety tests for front, side, rear and rollover crashes.
Every automaker has at least one winner, and Subaru, which picked up five awards, earned the honor for every model it builds. Toyota/Lexus/Scion had the most awards, with 15 models earning Top Safety Pick. It was followed by General Motors with 14, Volkswagen/Audi with 13, and Ford/Lincoln and Honda/Acura with 12 awards each.
Ten of the 18 new additions to the winners circle are Honda/Acura models, including the midsize Accord sedan, which hadn't earned the award since the institute toughened standards by adding a test for roof strength in rollover crashes. Vehicles rated good for rollover protection have roofs more than twice as strong as current federal standards require.
The Toyota Camry, another midsize sedan, earned its first-ever Top Safety Pick, as did the Toyota Yaris, a mini car.
"When we launched Top Safety Pick in 2005, consumers had 11 models to pick from," Adrian Lund, institute president, said in a press statement. "Six years later, finding a winner that fits most budgets and lifestyles is easy. It's a testament to the commitment automakers have made to going above and beyond minimum safety standards."
Safety is among factors that influence car insurance rates.