IIHS' picks for the safest cars you can buy in 2020 are out, and no pickup trucks or minivans made the cut - see the full list

2020 Subaru WRX hero

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its list of safest models for 2020, with 64 cars qualifying.
  • IIHS factors in things like crashworthiness, headlights, and collision-prevention technology to choose which vehicles earn its Top Safety Pick awards.
  • The Top Safety Pick Plus title, awarded to 23 vehicles this year, is reserved for cars that come with good-quality headlights as standard.
  • Hyundai claims the most winners overall, while Mazda receives the most Top Safety Pick Plus awards of any brand.
  • No pickup trucks or minivans made the list.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, otherwise known as IIHS, has released its yearly list of the safest new cars, awarding the title of Top Safety Pick to 64 vehicles for 2020. Twenty-three of those vehicles received the highest honor of "Top Safety Pick Plus," and no pickup trucks or minivans made the list.

IIHS evaluates cars in terms of things like crashworthiness, safety technology, and headlights at its Virginia facility, rating US models alongside the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and giving out awards if they perform well enough. Automakers then paste those awards across their advertisements, as you surely already know. Advertisement

IIHS generally uses four ratings - good, acceptable, marginal, and poor - and to qualify for Top Safety Picks, vehicles must receive a "good" rating across all six of its crash tests. They also need to offer available front-crash-prevention technology that's satisfactory in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian situations.

IIHS began evaluating headlights in 2016, and this year, it only awarded the Top Safety Pick Plus title to vehicles that come equipped with "good" or "acceptable" headlights as standard. Automakers often offer an array of headlights on different trims of the same model, giving lower-priced models headlights with IIHS' worst ratings while higher ones get headlights with the best ratings.

Top Safety Picks still need to offer "good" or "acceptable" headlights as an option, but they don't have to be standard - meaning buyers can still get priced out of good visibility at night.
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Scroll down to learn which 64 cars are the safest you can buy, according to IIHS. The 23 Top Safety Pick Plus award winners are listed first, followed by the 41 Top Safety Picks.

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Top Safety Pick Plus Winners

Top Safety Pick Plus Winners

Below are the 23 cars that earned the highest of IIHS' safety awards for 2020, the Top Safety Pick Plus.

In addition to crashworthiness and technology evaluations, winners of this award have to offer "good" or "acceptable" headlights as standard — not optional, like the Top Safety Pick winners can get away with.

Acura RDX

Acura RDX
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Audi A6

Audi A6

Cadillac XT6

Cadillac XT6

This only applies to Cadillac XT6 models built after October 2019.

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Genesis G70

Genesis G70

This only applies to Genesis G70 models built after December 2019.

Genesis G80

Genesis G80
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Honda Insight

Honda Insight

Hyundai Nexo

Hyundai Nexo
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Lexus ES

Lexus ES

Lexus NX

Lexus NX
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Mazda 3 hatchback

Mazda 3 hatchback

Mazda 3 sedan

Mazda 3 sedan
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Mazda 6

Mazda 6

Mazda CX-3

Mazda CX-3
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Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5

This only applies to Mazda CX-5 models with available front crash prevention.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan

Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan

This only applies to Mercedes C-Class sedan models with available front crash prevention.

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Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

This only applies to Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class models built after July 2019, with available front crash prevention.

Nissan Maxima

Nissan Maxima
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Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester
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Subaru Legacy

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

This only applies to Subaru Outback models built after October 2019.

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Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Toyota Camry

Toyota Camry
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Top Safety Pick Award Winners

Top Safety Pick Award Winners

The cars that follow still won an IIHS Top Safety Pick title, with their caveat being that "good" or "acceptable" headlights are only optional — not standard.

If you're considering one of the models below, pay attention to trim levels and use that model's individual IIHS rating page to determine which headlights you're getting, and whether they'll be safe enough for you.

Audi A7

Audi A7
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Audi Q8

Audi Q8

BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series
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Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Equinox

Ford Edge

Ford Edge
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Ford Escape

Ford Escape

Honda Accord

Honda Accord
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Honda Civic coupe

Honda Civic coupe

Honda Civic hatchback

Honda Civic hatchback

This does not apply to the Honda Civic Type R variant, according to IIHS.

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Honda Civic sedan

Honda Civic sedan

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V
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Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra

This only applies to Hyundai Elantra models with available front crash prevention.

Hyundai Elantra GT

Hyundai Elantra GT

This only applies to Hyundai Elantra GT models with available front crash prevention.

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Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Kona

This only applies to Hyundai Kona models with available front crash prevention.

Hyundai Palisade

Hyundai Palisade
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Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonata
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Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson

This only applies to Hyundai Tucson models with available front crash prevention.

Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai Veloster

This only applies to Hyundai Veloster models with available front crash prevention.

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Kia Forte

Kia Forte

This only applies to Kia Forte models with available front crash prevention.

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento

This only applies to Kia Sorento models with available front crash prevention.

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Kia Soul

Kia Soul

This only applies to Kia Soul models with available front crash prevention.

Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage
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Kia Stinger

Kia Stinger

This only applies to Kia Stinger models with available front crash prevention.

Kia Telluride

Kia Telluride
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Lexus RX

Lexus RX

Lexus UX

Lexus UX
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Lincoln Corsair

Lincoln Corsair

Mazda CX-9

Mazda CX-9

This only applies to Mazda CX-9 models with available front crash prevention.

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Nissan Altima

Nissan Altima

This only applies to Nissan Altima models with available front crash prevention.

Subaru Ascent

Subaru Ascent
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Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek

This only applies to Subaru Crosstrek models with available front crash prevention.

Subaru Impreza five-door

Subaru Impreza five-door

This only applies to Subaru Impreza five-door models with available front crash prevention.

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Subaru Impreza sedan

Subaru Impreza sedan

This only applies to Subaru Impreza sedan models with available front crash prevention.

Subaru WRX

Subaru WRX

This only applies to Subaru WRX models with available front crash prevention.

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Toyota Corolla hatchback

Toyota Corolla hatchback

Toyota Corolla sedan

Toyota Corolla sedan
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Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan
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Volvo S60

Volvo S60

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40
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