2014 Acura MDX IIHS test
2014 Acura MDX small overlap frontal crash test (IIHS)

Honda and its luxury brand, Acura, took home the most 2014 Top Safety Pick Plus awards of any automaker from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Of the 22 vehicles that earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award for 2014, Honda and Acura account for six of them, including the Honda Accord sedan and coupe, Honda Odyssey, Honda Civic sedan, Acura RLX and Acura MDX.

The IIHS changed its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus award criteria for 2014, making it harder for automakers to earn top honors. To be a 2014 Top Safety Pick Plus, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of Good in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a rating of Good or Acceptable in the newer small overlap front test, and a rating of at least Basic, Advanced or Superior for front crash prevention, which takes into account the availability of technology features that help prevent a frontal impact crash, like forward collision warning or automatic braking.

IIHS President Adrian Lund says in a statement, “Following a gradual phase-in, the small overlap crash is now part of our basic battery of tests, and good or acceptable performance should be part of every vehicle's safety credentials. We also felt it was time to offer extra recognition to manufacturers that are offering a proven crash avoidance technology.”

The non-profit organization explains, “IIHS began rating front crash prevention systems earlier this year after research by its affiliate, the Highway Loss Data Institute, showed that forward collision warning and automatic braking systems are reducing crashes. Vehicles can earn basic, advanced or superior ratings for systems offered as standard or optional equipment. A vehicle with a forward collision warning system that meets performance criteria set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration automatically qualifies for a basic rating. Additional points are awarded for autobrake, based on performance in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph.”

The IIHS 2014 Top Safety Pick award is essentially the same as the Top Safety Pick Plus award from 2013, which means a vehicle must earn the highest rating of Good in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a Good or Acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.

Other 2014 Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles include the Mazda3, Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Infiniti Q50, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S60, Volvo S80, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Toyota Highlander, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Volvo XC60. Seventeen other vehicles earn IIHS Top Safety Pick awards for 2014.

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