The Institute tests each car's ability to sustain a front-end impact collision, side-impact collision, a rollover and a small overlap front-impact test designed to mimic an event where the driver of a car attempts to swerve out of the way of an oncoming collision, but reacts too late to avoid the impact entirely.
In all, the Institute deemed 39 cars some of the safest on the market, far fewer than were awarded last year. Each of these vehicles earned at least a "Good" rating in every test the Institute put it through. Vehicles were allowed to earn an "Acceptable" rating in the new small overlap front-impact test.
Cars that earned the Institute's Top Safety Pick award and are also available with systems that either warn drivers of a pending collision or use technology such as automatic braking to avoid a collision without driver input were given a Top Safety Pick+ award by the IIHS.