The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced its list for the safest vehicles of 2007. Not surprisingly, its “Top Safety Picks” did not include a single small car. Four cars, seven SUVs and two minivans made the list which, sadly, also did not include a single domestic brand vehicle.
Here are the winners:
1. Audi A6, large car 2. Audi A4, midsized car 3. Saab 9-3, midsized car 4. Subaru Legacy (equipped with optional ESC), midsized car 5. Hyundai Entourage, minivan 6. Kia Sedona, minivan 7. Mercedes M-Class, luxury SUV 8. Volvo, XC90, luxury SUV 9. Acura RDX, midsized SUV 10. Honda Pilot, midsized SUV 11. Subaru B9 Tribeca (equipped with optional ESC), midsized SUV 12. Honda CR-V, small SUV 13. Subaru Forester, small SUV
A couple notes about this list. Pickups were not eligible for the list because their side crashworthiness has not yet been tested.
More importantly, 2007 marks the first year that the Institute required a Top Safety Pick to have ESC, which stands for Electronic Stability Control. Using anti-lock brake technology, ESC uses a computer to assist the driver in maintaining stability during a turn or emergency maneuver by applying breaking to one or more wheels. The ESC system is designed to prevent sideways sliding or skidding.
An Institute study has shown that vehicles equipped with ESC are significantly less likely to be involved in a crash. In fact, according to the study, ESC could help save more than 10,000 lives a year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a proposal to require that ESC be phased in to all passenger vehicles by 2012.