More Cars Made 2012 ‘Top Safety Picks’ List Than Ever Before

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released its list of Top Safety Picks for 2012 model year cars.

A whopping 115 cars received the top rating from the IIHS this year, a list that includes 69 cars, 38 SUVs, five minivans and three pickups. And there were 18 newcomers to the list, including the Honda (Stock Quote: HMC) Accord, Mercedes M-Class and Toyota (Stock Quote: TM) Camry. The organization says the 100-plus cars receiving the top rating is a record high.

The organization rates cars based on which ones perform best in the four most common types of crashes: front, rear, side and rollover. Rollover performance in particular has improved in the last year.

“Initially 66 vehicles qualified for last year’s award as less-than-perfect rollover ratings held back many contenders,” explains the report. “Later the number climbed to 100 as manufacturers redesigned roofs to make them stronger or introduced new models to win.”

The automaker with the most to celebrate this year was undoubtedly Subaru, which the report notes is still the only manufacturer that earns a top safety pick for every one of its cars. In fairness, though, Subaru only makes five cars. Toyota, whose brands also include Lexus and Scion, picked up 15 awards this year.

Finally, if there were a “most improved” trophy it would definitely go home with Honda: Of the 18 newcomers to the list, 10 of them were either Hondas or Acuras.

Want to know which cars have the best safety track record? Take a look at the safest cars on the road.

Matt Brownell is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at matthew.brownell@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @Brownellorama.

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