It’s like the auto industry’s way of saying, “We’re serious about keeping you safe out there.”

On Tuesday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) dropped the names of the first 2024 Top Safety Pick winners. They’ve beefed up the criteria this time, making it tougher for cars to snag that Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ badge. Surprisingly, 71 models nailed it, and guess who’s stealing the safety spotlight? Yep, Hyundai Motor Group is taking the lead.

Back in 2023, the IIHS decided to turn up the heat with a more demanding side crash test. Fast forward to 2024, and they’ve cranked it up even more, unleashing a beefier frontal crash test that zeroes in on keeping those backseat riders extra safe. Not content with just that, the IIHS also gave a makeover to the rules for nighttime pedestrian front crash prevention systems. It’s like they’ve decided to make cars not just stylish and fast but downright ninja-level safe for everyone on board.

If a car’s eyeing that TSP award, it’s got some serious hurdles to clear. Think acing the small and moderate overlap front crash tests, nailing the side crash exam, and showing off with a good or acceptable rating in the vehicle-to-pedestrian front-crash prevention test. The headlights need to be on point, none of that dim stuff – it’s gotta be good or acceptable across all trim levels.

Now, if a vehicle’s gunning for the top-tier TSP+ award, it’s not just about meeting the basics. It’s about flexing that safety muscle by grabbing a good or acceptable rating in the upgraded moderate overlap front collision test. And the spotlight isn’t just on the driver this time; they’re also checking how well it’s got the back of the rear passenger. It’s like the Olympics of car safety – no room for slackers!

Guess who’s dominating the 2024 safety game? It’s none other than Hyundai Motor Group, sweeping in with a collection of awards for their Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia brands. These safety champs bagged a whopping six TSP+ awards and ten TSP awards, showcasing a serious commitment to keeping us all safe on the road.

Hot on their tail is Toyota Motor Corporation, rolling in with the Toyota and Lexus brands. While they snagged one TSP+ award and twelve TSP awards, it’s clear they’re not messing around when it comes to safety.

Now, let’s talk about Mazda – the unsung hero of TSP+ awards, racking up a remarkable five of them. Not to be outdone, they also secured a TSP award, proving that when it comes to safety, Mazda’s got the winning formula. It’s like the automotive safety Oscars, and these brands are stealing the spotlight!

If we look at the awards by vehicle class, we see that just about every type of vehicle has earned a TSP award. However, SUVs lead the way. Small SUVs, midsize SUVs, and midsize luxury SUVs all tied for the most TSP+ awards with five each. Midsize luxury SUVs picked up 12 TSP awards, which is the most of any class. Cars, pickups, and minivans did not score as well overall.

SUVs are taking home the safety trophies, reflecting their dominance in the U.S. market, says IIHS President David Harkey. Yet, the disappointment lingers as only four pickups and four midsize cars clinched awards, despite their widespread popularity. It’s a safety imbalance in the auto arena worth noting.

Good news for all kinds of wheels! It’s not just the gas guzzlers earning those safety badges – hybrids and electric rides are joining the club too. So, whether you’re team traditional or eco-friendly, there’s a safety-conscious option for everyone. Your ride won’t just protect you and the fam but also look out for the folks on foot nearby.