When it comes to automotive safety, there’s really only one distinction that matters: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award. Automakers can go on and on about the quality of their antilock brakes and the number of airbags packed into various nooks and crannies in their vehicles, but at the end of the day, you can really only count on the vehicles that the IIHS decides are truly safe. Luckily for Chicago Volkswagen Tiguan dealers, VW led the field with nine models, the Tiguan among them.
The way the IIHS decides which automobiles are Top Safety Picks is by starting only with a pool of vehicles that have electronic stability control, then putting them through a battery of tests and rating the cars (or SUVs, or vans, or whatever) in four different categories: front, side, rear, and rollover crash safety. Any automobile that scores “good” rankings in all categories is put on the list of Top Safety Picks. In 2011, only 66 models were given the designation—nine of them Volkswagens.
It means more than one would think, especially with tougher roof strength and rollover requirements this year. To put it into perspective, VW’s grand total was more models than industry leaders Toyota (8) and Honda (who had only one, the soon-to-be-retired Element). While VW might only have a relatively small share of the U.S. automotive market, accolades like this are sure to help boost those stateside sales.
So what models made the grade? Aside from the Tiguan, other notables included the Jetta, the Jetta Sportwagen, the Golf, the four-door GTI, and the Touareg. In Chicago, Volkswagen Golf sales have already seen a nice jump over the last twelve months, but getting flagged as one of the safest cars on the road is sure to help provide that and other models with the attention they deserve.
The bottom line is that consumers have the right to know which are the safest cars to drive, especially if the person buying that car wants to keep his/her family safe. The IIHS helps make that process easier by releasing Top Safety Picks every year, but VW makes it even easier by just producing the safest cars. Not even Honda and Toyota can say that.