This year, the Chevrolet Volt seems to be taking all of the awards; the North American Car of the Year, Green Car of the Year and others. But there are plenty of other 2011 models out there that are causing quite a stir and driving away with their own awards. While engineering and innovation are important factors when picking a winner for different car awards; they are not factors that concern the everyday car buying consumer. Factors like value and safety are some of the most important factors a car buyer will look at when making the decision to purchase a car. And while these cars may not make the Best Car of the Year award list, they are getting their own awards in categories that really matter to the consumer.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety picks cars every year to be on their Top Safety picks list. For 2011 66 different models earned a spot on this coveted list. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests the safety of these vehicles based on their performance in high-speed front and side crash tests and rollover tests. The IIHS also evaluates how well the seat and head restraints protect against neck injuries in rear impacts. All vehicles place on the Top Safety Picks list must score the Institute's highest rating of 'Good' in all test and come standard with electronic stability control.
The IIHS has stricter safety tests than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; but they also create a list of passing vehicles from their tests. The IIHS put each of its winners in a class; in the Large Cars class, the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300 and Hyundai Genesis were just three of the 14 winners. In the Small Cars class; the Chevrolet Cruze, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen GTI were a few of the 14 winners. The Ford Fiesta, Toyota Sienna, and Volkswagen Touareg were the only winners in their classes of Minicars, Minivans and Large SUVs, respectively. In the Midsize Car category a wide array of vehicles won from many different auto makers including, Audi, Hyundai, Ford, Subaru, Mercedes and Volvo; for a total of 15 cars.