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Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - After increasing its standards for 2011 models, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 66 vehicles--more than double the 2010 total--rate as best in the industry at protecting passengers from front, side, rollover and rear crashes.

Only 27 vehicles qualified last year after the group, funded by the insurance industry, required that vehicles pass a roof-strength test to earn a good rating, claiming that stronger roofs would reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury by 50 percent in a rollover accident.

The most mentioned carmakers on the 2011 list are Hyundai/Kia and Volkswagen/Audi, both with nine vehicles to get the Top Safety Pick designation. General Motors, Ford/Lincoln and Toyota/Lexus/Scion had eight vehicles on the list, and Subaru was the only manufacturer to win in all the vehicle classes for which it was eligible.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

"Safety is a priority among this crop of winners," IIHS president Adrian Lund said. "That gives consumers shopping for a safer new car or SUV--from economy to luxury models--plenty of choices to consider in most dealer showrooms."

Lund also pointed out that every major automaker had at least one winning model in 2011.

Notable winners are the new Chevrolet Cruze and Ford's redesigned 2011 Explorer, which won for the first time. The Scion tC was added to Toyota's list, and the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee was also selected. The Ford Fiesta is the only minicar, the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan and the Volkswagen Touareg is the only large SUV to make the 2011 list.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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