For many consumers, purchasing a new car can be a lengthy, if not stressful, process. Whether you’re financing, leasing or outright purchasing, the vehicle represents a significant investment. Getting your money’s worth goes beyond the “bells and whistles” that come with today’s modern vehicles. Safety is paramount for both drivers and passengers, and it’s important for car buyers in New Mexico to know as much as they can about the safety of the vehicles they purchase.

In-Depth Motor Vehicle Studies Provide Insight

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts an annual study to determine the cars on the market that scored highest on a litany of safety tests. Beyond the yearly crash tests, this year’s research had a particular focus on pedestrian crash prevention, noting the significant increase – more than 50% – of pedestrian fatalities since 2009.

Other factors considered to secure Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus recognition included passenger safety, nighttime visibility, and pedestrian protection. Hyundai received the most awards while Mazda led the pack with the most vehicles in the Top Safety Pick Plus category. BMW, Ford, Lincoln and Volvo did not break into the “Plus” category. Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge and Mitsubishi failed to garner either award.

Overall, 64 vehicles received Top Safety Pick awards, with 23 garnering Top Safety Pick Plus. Sixty-six percent of 2020 vehicles received a “Good” rating in driver-side small overlap tests. Yet, less than half earned the same in passenger-side studies, an area where the IIHS sees much-needed improvement.

Year after year, IIHS raises the bar in its test criteria surrounding the awards that draw a great deal of attention from consumers and industry professionals. Raising standards has a trickle-down effect. To earn recognition, motor vehicle manufacturers step up their game, particularly when it comes to passengers at risk of serious injury or death.