The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) doesn’t go easy on cars and trucks it tests, and for good reason.  After all, the IIHS is well-regarded for its independent safety reviews.


For the 2009 calendar year, the Institute has awarded the 2010 Chrysler Sebring and 2010 Dodge Avenger with its Top Safety Pick Award.  So what does that mean for you, Joe/Jane Driver and Joe/Jane Passenger?  Consider: each vehicle the institute evaluates will endure 40 mph frontal crash tests, side-impact crash tests (e.g. by a briskly moving SUV or pickup truck),  and rear crash tests.

“A vehicle that earns the Top Safety Pick designation provides the best overall protection in the three most common kinds of crashes,” says Adrian Lund, President – Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. “Top-level crash-test performance plus electronic stability control (ESC) to help keep drivers out of crashes are the tough criteria needed to earn this award.”


Indeed, the 2010 Sebring and Avenger have more than 30 safety functions – including ESC – which is not something every midsize vehicle in the segment can claim.  Standard features include active head restraints, multi-stage air bags, all-speed traction control, anti-lock brakes, crumple zones, side guard door beams, and side-curtain air bags and seat mounted side air bags offering additional side impact protection.


Among the most important safety traits are the “passive” functions, or those that operate independently of the driver input.   For instance, advanced multi-stage air bags deploy based on crash severity.  This helps protect occupants  in a variety for crash scenarios.