7 On Your Side: IIHS announces its list of 'Safest Vehicles' for 2018

7 ON YOUR SIDE (ABC7 file photo)

Tis' the season for car shopping. If you're in the market, you’ll want to pay attention to the latest from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). On Thursday, they released their "Safest Vehicles" list for 2018.

The stakes were higher than ever, as this year IIHS included tougher criteria like a passenger-side crash test.

Sixty-two of 175 vehicles earned one of the group's "Top Safety Pick" awards, but only 15 got the highest honor that includes acceptable passenger-side protection and “good”-rated headlights.

IIHS says while manufacturers have done a good job of improving overall safety, sufficient headlight illumination has been lacking on many vehicles.

This year, Toyota, Hyundai, and Subaru had the largest number of vehicles in the "top picks" lists.

Audi, Lexus, and Volvo dominated the luxury brand category.

IIHS says across all manufacturers, the vast majority of winners qualify for the awards only when optionally equipped because automatic emergency braking systems and good headlights aren't part of base packages.

IIHS says their tests focus on mainstream, popular vehicles. Typically IIHS says sophisticated crash and safety technology starts with luxury brands, before federal requirements exist for those technologies. Typically those advancements then filter down to manufacturers more broadly.

See the complete list of the IIHS top safety picks here.

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