Three models earn top safety awards

The Subaru B9 Tribeca topped the IIHS “Top Safety Pick” list as one of the safest mid-size SUV.


Subaru was a big winner with this year’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards. The 2007 Forester, Legacy and B9 Tribeca models all earned the insurance industry-funded organization’s “Top Safety Pick” designation.

This trio of Subaru models, with available stability control systems, were among only 10 other 2007 “Top Safety Picks” in the industry, but the brand had the most IIHS safety pick designations of any single automtove brand.

The Subaru Legacy won in the IIHS’s mid-size car category.

The IIHS awards recognize vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute tests. The Institute rates vehicles as good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests plus evaluation of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

The first requirement for a vehicle to become a “Top Safety Pick” is to earn good ratings in all three Institute tests. Vehicles that were eligible to win included current small, mid-size, and large car models, plus minivans and small or mid-size SUVs. Winners also had to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC). Subaru calls its electronic stability control system Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC).

The new ESC requirement is based on the Institute’s research indicating that the system significantly reduces crash risk, especially the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes, by helping drivers maintain control of their vehicles during emergency manoeuvres.

The criteria for the 2007 awards were tightened to encourage more vehicle safety improvements, according to the IIHS. Last year, a car could win with an ‘acceptable’ rating in the rear test instead of the highest rating of ‘good’, and electronic stability control wasn’t considered. Now it’s tougher to win and some of the previous year’s winners don’t measure up because their manufacturers haven’t improved the head restraints from acceptable to good, or don’t offer ESC.

IIHS “Top Safety Pick”

Overall, the IIHS “Top Safety Pick” list included four cars, seven SUVs and a pair of minivans. In their respective categories, the winners were:

  • Mid-size car: Audi A4, Saab 9-3, Subaru Legacy (with optional VDC).

  • Large car: Audi A6 (built in December '06 or later)

  • Minivan: Hyundai Entourage, Kia Sedona.

  • Small SUV: Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester (with optional VDC)

  • Mid-size SUV: Acura RDX, Honda Pilot, Subaru B9 Tribeca

  • Luxury SUV: Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Volvo XC90

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