IIHS Names Malibu Eco, Hyundai Azera and Prius C Top Safety Picks
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, a midsize hybrid; 2012 Hyundai Azera, a large family car; and 2012 Toyota Prius c, a small hybrid, earn the Institute's top award for good performance in front, side, rollover and rear impact evaluations.
The Malibu Eco is a redesigned model. The 2012 Malibu continues to be sold and also is a Top Safety Pick.
The Azera was previously tested for front and side crashworthiness. It meets the criteria for the award by earning good ratings in a recent rear impact test assessing whiplash protection and a roof strength test to measure occupant protection in rollover crashes.
The Prius c is a new model and joins the Prius and Prius v as IIHS award winners.
To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes.
Vehicles rated good for rollover protection have roofs more than twice as strong as the current federal standard requires. The Institute estimates that such roofs reduce the risk of serious and fatal injury in single-vehicle rollovers by about 50 percent compared with roofs meeting the minimum requirement. A new federal standard for roof strength will phase in beginning with 2013 models.