These are the 15 safest cars money can buy for 2018

Only 15 cars this year met tougher criteria for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating, the group announced Thursday.

IIHS assesses a vehicle's crashworthiness with six tests: moderate overlap front, driver-side small overlap front, (new) passenger-side small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints and seats.

Crash tests have been part of the IIHS's playbook for years to make sure drivers are protected, but this year it chose to add tests to see how well passengers are protected.

This year, 62 vehicle models earned the institute's top safety pick award.

Here's a closer look at the 15 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners for 2018.

Leading the way for the most Top Safety awards are Hyundai and Subaru.

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Here's the full list of Top Safety Award winners. How well a vehicle scored in a passenger-side crash test was also factored in.

"Most drivers when they buy a vehicle they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are".

"We've been doing small overlap frontal crash tests on the driver's side since 2012 and we've seen a lot of improvement on that side, but we weren't seeing that kind of improvement for passengers, said IIHS president Adrian Lund". Check out the full list of models that qualify.

"We rate headlamps because when we look at how they light up the road many of them aren't doing a very good job", said Lund.

"All automakers now recognize the important role of safety in consumer choice, and they are increasingly receptive to working with our engineers to understand the next steps in keeping people from harm in motor vehicle crashes and to make real changes in their vehicle designs". The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

  • Carlos Nash