Insurance industry picks 2011 safest cars

2011 Genesis - a full-size, rear wheel drive luxury car from Hyundai

The insurance industry 2011 safety pick awards recognize 66 vehicles. South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia and German car maker Volkswagen led the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s annual list of the safest new vehicles (2011 model year).

Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors, and Volkswagen and its Audi brand received the most awards with nine, followed by eight awards apiece by General Motors, Ford and Toyota.

Hyundai’s Genesis sedan, Sonata midsize and Santa Fe and Tucson sport utility vehicles picked up awards, while Kia was recognized for the Optima midsize car, the Forte and Soul small cars, and the Sorento and Sportage SUVs.

The completely redesigned 2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen won plaudits for the Jetta and Jetta SportWagen, the Golf and GTI small cars and the Touareg and Tiguan SUVs. Audi’s A3 and A4 sedans and Q5 SUV also made the 2011 safety pick awards list.

Subaru and Chrysler received five awards apiece while Volvo and Mercedes had four.

Subaru was the only automaker to win awards in every vehicle category in which it competes.

Nissan and Honda had two awards each and Mitsubishi and BMW had one.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze has a body structure that is 65 per cent high-strength steel

GM’s winners include the Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze and Equinox; Cadillac CTS and SRX; Buick LaCrosse and Regal and GMC Terrain.

Ford’s picks include the Ford Taurus, Fusion, Fiesta, Explorer and Flex; and the Lincoln MKS, MKZ and MKT.

Toyota, which has grappled with several high-profile recalls during the past year, scored with the Toyota Avalon, Corolla, Sienna, Highlander and Venza; the Lexus RX; and the Scion tC and xB.

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

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