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66 Vehicles Chosen ‘Top Safety Picks’

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2011 Hyundai Sonata (credit: AP)

2011 Hyundai Sonata (credit: AP)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia and German car maker Volkswagen lead the insurance industry’s annual list of the safest new vehicles, used by safety-minded consumers looking to buy a new car.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognized 66 vehicles on Wednesday with its “top safety pick award” for the 2011 model year, the most-ever awarded by the Virginia-based group (see full list below).

The number was more than double the 27 vehicles selected last year.

WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports

Hyundai Motor Corp. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp., and Volkswagen AG and its Audi brand received the most awards with nine, followed by eight awards apiece by General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. The awards, used in advertising to attract car buyers, bolster Hyundai and Volkswagen as they attempt to build a larger foothold in the United States.

The vehicles were chosen for protection in front, side and rear crash tests. To qualify for the award, the insurance industry group also requires the vehicles to have anti-rollover electronic stability control, or ESC, and receive top scores in roof strength tests.

Institute president Adrian Lund credited automakers for “quickly rising to meet the more-challenging criteria for `Top Safety Pick.”‘ He said several automakers have requested tests for new models coming out early next year and Lund predicted more winners would be added.

IIHS 2011 Model Top Safety Picks:

LARGE CARS
Buick LaCrosse
Buick Regal
BMW 5 Series
Cadillac CTS
Ford Taurus
Hyundai Genesis
Infiniti M
Lincoln MKS
Mercedes E Class sedan
Mercedes E Class coupe
Toyota Avalon
Volvo S80

MIDSIZE CARS
Audi A3
Audi A4
Chevrolet Malibu
Chrysler 200
Dodge Avenger
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Lincoln MKZ
Mercedes C Class
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Volvo C30

SMALL CARS
Chevrolet Cruze
Ford Fiesta
Honda Civic
Kia Forte
Kia Soul
Mitsubishi Lancer
Nissan Cube
Scion tC
Scion xB
Subaru Impreza
Toyota Corolla
Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen GTI

MINIVAN
Toyota Sienna

LARGE SUV
Volkswagen Touareg

MIDSIZE SUVs
Audi Q5
Cadillac SRX
Chevrolet Equinox
Dodge Journey
Ford Explorer
Ford Flex
GMC Terrain
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento
Lexus RX
Lincoln MKT
Mercedes GLK
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Venza
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

SMALL SUVs
Honda Element
Hyundai Tucson
Jeep Patriot
Kia Sportage
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

The Associated Press’s Ken Thomas contributed to this report
(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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