Introducing the IIHS

When it comes to gauging a car’s relative safety, based on features and handling, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the organization to which motorists turn. A nonprofit organization that is independently run, the IIHS conducts thorough tests on virtually every make and model of vehicle — be it car, truck, or semi — from each manufacturer and in every year of release. As such, they have created the internet’s largest database of vehicle safety ratings. 

As a way to promote highway safety and help save millions in potential car repair bills, the IIHS publishes a shortlist of the Top Safety Picks of the coming year. This is meant to inform drivers which cars are the most crashworthy — meaning how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash — as many look forward to buying a new vehicle as the latest models are released.

The Criteria of Safety

Because of the relative fame of this yearly publication, and thanks to the IIHS’s exacting nature, each car must perform well against a broad list of measurements if it is to be included as a Top Safety Pick. Likewise, the mechanics at the Master Muffler Orem car repair center brush up their skills in order to service any of these vehicles and maintain their good reputation.

Each car will be undergo testing under these specific conditions:

  • Driver’s Side Small Overlap Front: A frontal crash covering 25% of the width of the vehicle — essentially the size of a street lamp or tree. 
  • Passenger Side Small Overlap Front: Similar to the driver’s side test, but on the other side of the car.
  • Moderate Overlap Front: A head-on collision covering 40% of the width of the car, such as two cars hitting one another. This tests the vehicle’s crumple zones and the effectiveness of the passenger safety cage. 
  • Side Impact: A large object collision against the side of the car. This is where side airbags are monitored.
  • Roof Strength: A test is carried out to determine if the roof’s integrity will hold if the vehicle goes turtle.
  • Head Restraint Tests: A rear-end collision is performed and the neck of the dummy is observed to determine the severity of whiplash injuries.
  • Front Crash Prevention Systems: Meant to engage new safety features such as cameras, automatic braking, and chassis sensors.
  • Headlight Rating: Evaluating the performance of the car’s headlights, including how much glare is created in the eyes of oncoming drivers.

Naturally, if the car undergoes any of these circumstances in a real crash situation, the lives of the passengers and the body of the vehicle could be in serious jeopardy. While we don’t conduct these experiments ourselves, our Orem car repair specialists are dedicated to making sure that the car is as roadworthy as possible, from alignments to brakes, so that these safety features can work without issue.

The 2021 Top Picks

Now that the year is nearly over, we can look with confidence at the IIHS’s Safety Picks for 2021 and see which cars have risen to the top of the rankings. Whatever your preference of vehicle, we have listed a few of the safest cars in each category for your convenience.

Small Cars

  • 2021 Honda Insight
    • Top Safety Pick+
    • 4-door Sedan
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: “Good”﹘“Superior” for all systems
  • 2021 Hyundai Elantra
    • Top Safety Pick
    • 4-door Sedan
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: Mostly “Good”﹘“Superior” with a “Poor” headlight rating and “Acceptable” child LATCH system
  • 2021 Toyota Corolla
    • Top Safety Pick
    • 4-door Sedan
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: Mostly “Superior” with “Acceptable”﹘“Marginal” headlights.

Midsize SUVs

  • 2021 Ford Explorer
    • Top Safety Pick+
    • 4-door SUV
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: Mostly “Superior” with “Acceptable” headlights
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
    • Top Safety Pick
    • 4-door SUV
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: All “Superiors” except the headlights with a range from “Good” to “Poor”
  • 2021 Kia Telluride
    • Top Safety Pick
    • 4-door SUV
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: All “Superiors” except the headlights with a range from “Good” to “Poor”

Minivans

  • 2021 Honda Odyssey
    • Top Safety Pick+
    • Minivan
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: Mostly “Superior” with “Acceptable” headlights
  • 2021 Toyota Sienna
    • Top Safety Pick+
    • Minivan
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: Mostly “Superior” with “Good” headlights

Large Pickups

  • 2021 Ram 1500
    • Top Safety Pick
    • Large Pickup / Crew Cab Pickup
    • Crashworthiness: “Good” across the board
    • Crash Avoidance: “Superior”﹘“Advanced” with “Good”﹘ “Marginal” headlights

You can rest assured that the IIHS will release another detailed list in 2022 and that the Orem Master Muffler will be there as well, ready to render car repairs and servicing to every make, model, and individual who comes to visit. If you are experiencing issues with your car, or you are simply curious about its own roadworthiness, please drop by and see us. We’re ready to help.