Safety First

America's Safest Vehicles: These 23 cars and SUVs earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2020

Mazda is the automaker with the most vehicles to earn the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

This week the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released their list of the 2020 Top Safety Pick+ vehicles. The models earning this designation are the cream of the crop earning high marks for their safety features, crashworthiness, and headlight visibility.

To qualify as a 2020 Top Safety Pick+ winner, vehicles must score at least a Good rating in the driver-size small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. They must also get an Advanced or Superior rating for available front crash prevention — vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations. Finally, their headlights must be rated as Acceptable or Good.

The vehicles listed below checked all those boxes.

Acura RDX

2020 Acura RDX

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Acura RDX is a four-door midsize luxury SUV. It earned all Good crash test ratings and a mixed Good and Acceptable headlight rating (varies by trim level). It has Superior front vehicle-to-vehicle crash protection and Advanced front vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Audi A6

2020 Audi A6

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi A6 is a luxury large four-door sedan. It earned similar marks to the RDX with all Good crash test ratings and a mixed Good and Acceptable headlight rating (varies by trim level). It performed better in the front crash protection scenarios earning two Superior ratings.

Cadillac XT6

2020 Cadillac XT6 Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The Cadillac XT6 is a four-door midsize luxury SUV that is new to the market for 2020. This award only applies to models built after October 2019. It earns all Good crash test ratings, an Acceptable headlight rating, and Superior front crash protection ratings for its standard and available systems.

Genesis G70

2020 Genesis G70

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motor LLC

Despite being the smallest car Genesis builds, the G70 is categorized by IIHS as a four-door luxury large car. The ratings it earned apply only to models built after December 2019. While it earned all Good marks for crashworthiness, the car faltered a bit in the headlight test with the available headlights earning a Good rating while others got a less distinguished Passing rating. It has Superior front vehicle-to-vehicle crash protection and Advanced front vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Genesis G80

2020 Genesis G80

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motor LLC

IIHS also categorizes the Genesis G80 as a four-door luxury large car. It too earned all Good crash test ratings. Its headlights took home Good and Acceptable marks. It has Superior front vehicle-to-vehicle crash protection and Advanced front vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Honda Insight

2020 Hyundai Insight

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Insight is a four-door small sedan with big appeal for commuters. It has earned the highest marks IIHS gives in each area it was evaluated. The Insight is one of the few models to earn just high praise.

Hyundai Nexo

2020 Hyundai Nexo

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Despite being from the Hyundai brand, the four-door hydrogen-powered SUV is categorized as a midsize luxury SUV by IIHS. This probably has something to do with its high price tag. The Nexo scored nearly all top-tier ratings. The exception is in the vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test where it earned an Advanced rating.

Lexus ES

2020 Lexus ES

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The 2020 Lexus ES 350 is a four-door midsize luxury car that was redesigned for the 2019 model year. It scored all Good ratings in the crashworthiness tests but earned just Good and Acceptable headlight ratings as the lights vary by trim level. It has Superior front vehicle-to-vehicle crash protection and Advanced front vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Lexus NX

2018 Lexus NX

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

IIHS categorizes the four-door Lexus NX as a midsize luxury sedan. It, like the Honda Insight, earned all top-tier marks inn every testing category.

Mazda CX-3

2020 Mazda CX-3

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

As far as four-door small SUVs go, the Mazda CX-3 is one of the safest. It scored all Good ratings in the crashworthiness tests but earned just Good and Acceptable headlight ratings because the lights vary by trim level. It has Superior front vehicle-to-vehicle crash protection and Advanced front vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

IIHS's ratings of the four-door Mazda CX-5 small SUV apply only to models with the available front crash prevention system. When equipped with that system, the CX-5 gets rated as having Good crashworthiness, Good and Acceptable headlights because the lights vary by trim level, Superior front vehicle-to-vehicle crash protection with its optional system, and Advanced front vehicle-to-vehicle (standard) and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention (available) with the systems.

Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback

2020 Mazda Mazda3

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The four-door Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback earned all top-tier ratings from IIHS except in the headlight test where it just had an Acceptable rating.

Mazda Mazda3 Sedan

2020 Mazda Mazda3

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Like the hatchback variant, the four-door Mazda Mazda3 small sedan earned all top-tier ratings from IIHS except in the headlight test where it just had an Acceptable rating.

Mazda Mazda6

2020 Mazda Mazda6

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The four-door midsize Mazda Mazda6 is slightly further into its current generation than the Mazda3, which could justify its less stellar ratings. Still, it got all Good marks in the six crashworthiness categories, Superior in the front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle ratings, and Advanced in the front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian categories. The car's headlights earned Good and Acceptable headlight ratings as the lights vary by trim level.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, equipped with the available front crash prevention technology, earned nearly perfect ratings. The one holdback is the headlights category where the standard headlamps were only rated Acceptable whereas the available ones received a Good mark.

Mercedes-Benz GLE

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz GLE, equipped with the available front crash prevention technology, earned the exact same marks as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Nissan Maxima

2020 Nissan Maxima Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The four-door Nissan Maxima sedan is one of the models that earned a nearly perfect score. The only place where it faltered is with its headlamps, which scored just an Acceptable rating.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, earned a perfect score in all the categories IIHS tested.

Subaru Forester

2020 Subaru Forester

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The Subaru Forester small SUV very nearly earned a perfect score. The one holdback is the headlights category where the standard headlamps were only rated Acceptable whereas the available ones received a Good mark.

Subaru Legacy

2020 Subaru Legacy

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The Subaru Legacy's scores are the same as the Subaru Forester's. It got all Good marks except for its standard headlamps, which were only rated Acceptable whereas the available ones received a Good mark.

Subaru Outback

2020 Subaru Outback

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The Subaru Outback's award only applies to vehicles built after October 2019. Those wagons all earned a perfect score in every category except the headlight test. The headlights earned Marginal, Acceptable, and Good marks, depending on the trim level.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Photo courtesy of Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 all-electric sedan earned all Good ratings in its crashworthiness test but didn't score quite as well in the front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation where it got just an Advanced rating.

Toyota Camry

2019 Toyota Camry

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

All of the Toyota Camry sedan's crashworthiness scores earned a Good rating. Its headlamps were only rated Acceptable whereas the available ones received a Good mark. The car's front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian system received an Advanced rating.

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Frightening security

Boston Dynamics' robot to patrol Kia factory

The robot is being tested as a security patrol unit.

Hyundai

Breaking into an auto manufacturing facility was already a very bad idea, but new security tech being tested by Hyundai Motor Group makes it downright terrifying as well. In addition to cameras, sensors, and armed security guards, would-be burglars at a Kia plant in South Korea now have to face off with a semi-autonomous robot dog.

The Boston Dynamics quadruped robot, named Spot, is being tested as a safer and more effective way of providing security patrols to the plant. The dog is one of several robots designed and tested by the firm, which has long terrified the internet with its physically capable electronic beings.

Boston Dynamics Spot Robot The robot uses various sensors to detect danger and intruders.Hyundai

If you haven't seen it, the Boston Dynamics robot dog is frightening enough on its own, so it's an excellent choice to provide factory security. The robot uses an integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR to detect people around it, and can monitor high-temperature situations and fire hazards. It can be controlled remotely through a secure webpage, which allows personnel to see what's going on in the factory without putting themselves in danger.

The robot is capable of navigating tight spaces and can identify issues not visible to the human eye. It's also able to semi-autonomously navigate its environment, and has been developed with task management and deep learning-based vision technology. Boston Dynamics says that its tech can be expanded to other types of robot platforms.



The robot dog is currently in the pilot stage at Kia's plant in South Korea. It will be used to support late-night security patrols and increase safety for workers. Hyundai Motor Group will assess the robot's effectiveness and suitability for the job before expanding its use in other industrial sites.

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Lexus took a different approach to launch the new IS.

Lexus

Lexus knows how to make a good V8. The LC 500, RC F, and even older cars like the SC 400 all feature a buttery, powerful Lexus V8. The IS sports sedan never has been given the V8 treatment, but that's about to change for the 2022 model year. The automaker is jamming a big V8 in the space normally occupied by a four- or six-cylinder engine to create the 2022 IS 500 F Sport. The automaker's new marketing campaign for the car takes a slightly different approach than the "big red bow" commercials it usually makes, starting with a short documentary called "License to Thrill."

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport 14 drivers competed for a chance to be one of the first IS 500 F Sport owners.Lexus

The IS 500 F Sport is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 472 horsepower. It's the most powerful Lexus IS ever, so it's not surprising that the automaker chose to highlight its performance in its launch marketing campaign.



The documentary follows 14 auto enthusiasts who participated in a driving event for a chance to own (buy) one of five early cars. Drivers were taken to the Apex Motor Club in Arizona, where they received tips from Lexus IMSA drivers Townsend Bell, Jack Hawksworth, and Aaron Telitz before hitting the track in an IS 500 F Sport. Each driver had an opportunity to set the best lap times in the car. Top lap times earned a chance to be one of the first to purchase the car, but Lexus also gave away one IS 500 to an unexacting participant.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Lexus gave away one of the cars.Lexus

The IS 500 launch will include other events that involve artists and content producers. Pro driver JR Hildebrand will drive the car for a MotorTrend special, while 100 Thieves and Garagisme will create publications and video content involving the car.

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