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Nissan Leaf among safest cars in US, awarded Top Safety Pick by IIHS

Earning top crash safety ratings from the IIHS, that organization has awarded the 2013 Nissan Leaf with the Top Safety Pick designation.

Nissan announced on Tuesday that the Nissan Leaf has won the coveted "Top Safety Pick" designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This designation recognizes vehicles for excellent performance in four passenger safety tests.

The 2013 Nissan Leaf earned Good (G) ratings, the top rating, in all areas. To win this designation, a car must earn a G rating in at least the moderate overlap frontal test, side impact, rollover and rear tests, regardless of their rating in the small overlap frontal test. The IIHS crash test report notes that driver and passengers in a Nissan Leaf have a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity, and that the head is protected from being hit by any hard structures.

In part that protection comes from the air bag system. The standard system includes Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection, 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver's seat ELR only) with pretensioners and load limiters, child seat upper tether anchor, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system and child safety rear door locks. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS) are also standard on all LEAF models.

The IIHS is an independent non-profit organization seeking to reduce traffic accidents and injury from the same. IIHS is a leader in finding out what works and doesn't work to prevent motor vehicle crashes from happening in the first place and to minimize injuries in the crashes that still occur.

"Driver and passenger safety are top priorities for Nissan and the 'Top Safety Pick’ designation by IIHS reflects the design and innovation that have gone into this car to make it a practical, no-compromise electric vehicle," said Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing. “The new, U.S.-assembled 2013 Nissan LEAF provides customers with a remarkable level of value, comfort and security at prices competitive with gas-powered cars in a fun-to-drive package."

“The IIHS 'Top Safety Pick’ recognition speaks to the ‘zone body construction’ design from Nissan’s Safety Shield Concept to help protect occupants in a wide variety of crash scenarios,” said Robert Yakushi, Nissan director of product safety.