The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the American Insurance industry’s safety arm, has released its list of top safety picks for 2017 models. And the results will really surprise you. Only 38 have managed to get the highest rating of 2017 Top Safety Pick+, down significantly from the 79 that qualified for the 2016 model year. And surprisingly, only four of those are German cars, while several Japanese models from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Lexus, Subaru, and Mazda have made it to the list. Hyundai’s new premium off-shoot Genesis has scored big as two of its cars, along with a Lexus pretty much make up the large luxury car category. Even more interesting is the reason behind a record low number of cars making the cut; their headlights.

Announcing the list of cars, the IIHS said it has tightened rules and criteria for its highest safety honours, and that many high-end models did not meet the criteria set for headlight performance. Despite all the fancy tech like adaptive headlights that turn their beams in the same direction the car turns, the IIHS says not enough attention has been paid to their efficiency in lighting up the road. While some lost out because failed to provide adequate visibility to the drivers at night, others were found to cause excessive glare.

The cars that made it to the top rating in their respective segments are as follows:

Small cars:

Chevrolet Volt

Hyundai Elantra (saloon; built after March 2016)

Mazda 3

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Prius (built after August 2016)


Midsize cars:

Honda Accord saloon

Mazda 6

Nissan Altima

Nissan Maxima

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Toyota Camry

Toyota Prius v

Volkswagen Jetta


Midsize luxury cars:

Audi A4

Lexus ES 350

Volvo S60

Volvo V60


Large luxury cars:

Genesis G80

Genesis G90

Lexus RC


Small SUVs:

Mazda CX-3

Mitsubishi Outlander

Nissan Rogue

Subaru Forester (built after October 2016)

Toyota RAV4


Midsize SUVs:

Honda Pilot

Hyundai Santa Fe (built after March 2016)


Midsize luxury SUVs:

Acura MDX

Acura RDX

Audi Q5

Buick Envision

Lexus NX

Lexus RX

Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Volvo XC60



Chrysler Pacifica (built after August 2016)


Large pickup:

Honda Ridgeline


Apart from these 38, there are 44 other models that have made it to the second tier safety rating, which is Top Safety Pick, without the Plus.