While 115 cars made the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick list this year, just six of them were new additions (or reappearances) in the luxury categories.
Mercedes-Benz’s M Class is a new addition for 2012, having skipped 2011. The previous 2009-2010 models had made the list, but the 2011 model didn’t, despite earning top marks of “good” in front and side impact crash tests.
Next is the BMW X3, which rejoins the list after being left off since 2009, though like the M-Class, intervening year models also scored “good” in all tests. The Acura MDX also sees the same result, once again a Top Safety Pick after being off the list since 2009.
Two other Acuras also joined the list for 2012, the TL (built after September, 2011) and the TSX, including both the sedan and wagon, or “hatchback,” as the IIHS terms it. Like the other luxury cars rejoining the list, neither the TL nor the TSX have made appearances on it since 2009. All three of the Acuras on the 2012 list had top scores of “good” during their 2010-2011 absence.
The final new luxury addition to the IIHS Top Safety Pick list for 2012 is a new car: the Buick Verano. Sized about the same as the Chevy Cruze and priced very competitively, the Verano starts its model run with top honors. Though the IIHS doesn’t technically rate the Verano as a luxury car, our first drive experience with the car found that higher-spec models (which still cost less than $27,000) are “every bit as good as, if not better than, you’d find in a Lexus IS, ES, or HS.”
A host of other new models made the list for the first time or came back after an absence, including: Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Honda CR-Z, Honda Insight, Scion xD, Subaru Impreza (but not the WRX), Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius v, Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, and Honda Ridgeline.
The most successful luxury brands in the 2012 Top Safety Pick battle were Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, each scoring five, followed by Buick, Cadillac, and Audi with four apiece. Acura and Chrysler were next with three each, and BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, and Infiniti rounded out the rest with two each.
Sadly, now-bankrupt Saab also made the list twice, for the 9-5 and 9-4X. At least it went out with(out?) a bang.