Four Hyundai models, including the North American Car of the Year finalist Sonata, achieved the 2011 Top Safety Pick honor from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Joining the Sonata in receiving this top safety distinction are the Hyundai Genesis, Santa Fe and Tucson. Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have available electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk.

Safety is a top priority at Hyundai, and you really see that with the 2011 Sonata, said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. The all-new Sonata was the first mid-size car to receive a five-star crash test rating under NHTSAs new, more stringent 2011 system. The combination of the NHTSA five-star rating and the IIHS Top Safety Pick honor puts Sonata in a safety position unsurpassed in the industry.

The IIHS Top Safety Pick ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require. Last year, the Institute toughened the criteria for Top Safety Pick by adding a requirement that all qualifiers must earn a good rating for performance in a roof strength test to assess protection in a rollover crash. According to the new guidelines, roofs must be more than double the strength of current federal requirements in order to better maintain vehicle integrity in the event of a rollover accident.

The Institute awarded the first Top Safety Pick to 2006 models and then raised the bar the next year by requiring good rear test results and electronic stability control as either standard or optional equipment. With last years addition of new criteria for roof crush the Institutes crash test ratings now cover all four of the most common kinds of crashes.

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