2013 Honda Civic IIHS Top Safety Pick+
Image: Honda

Five vehicles have been awarded with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) highest-possible Top Safety Pick+ designation based on their performance in the new small overlap front crash test.

The 2013 Honda Civic 2-door and 4-door, both small cars, and the 2013 Volvo XC60, a midsize luxury SUV, all earned good ratings for small overlap protection.

The 2013 Lincoln MKZ, a midsize luxury car, and the 2014 Mazda 6, a midsize moderately priced car, both received an acceptable rating.

The vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick+ award because they received good ratings in the Institute's moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear tests, plus good or acceptable ratings in the new small overlap test.

The small overlap test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or object like a tree or utility pole.

The 2013 Honda Civic, the first small car to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award, received significant front structure upgrades to improve small overlap performance, and engineers at Volvo updated the airbag algorithm to deploy the side curtain airbag in the small overlap test.