Redesigned Audi Q7, Toyota Highlander Take Home Top Awards from IIHS
Redesigns to the new Toyota Highlander and the Audi Q7 helped both SUVs snag top awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Redesigns helped the 2016 Highlander increase its score from "acceptable" to "good" in the small overlap front test, which helped it qualify under IIHS' new scoring standards.
Following a redesign, Audi nominated the Q7 for the test and paid for the vehicle that was used as the IIHS doesn't often test large SUVs. Good scores on crash tests and the inclusion of crash avoidance systems gave both SUVs Top Safety Pick+ awards.
Improvements for Toyota
Last year's Highlander also earned a Top Safety Pick+, but the award criteria were tightened for 2016. The SUV now needed to score "good" on the difficult small overlap front test in order to maintain the distinction. It previously had an "acceptable" rating, which was allowed under the old awarding criteria.
Structural modifications were able to improve its performance. The dummy's movement was better controlled than in previous tests.
The SUV also has an "advanced" rated front crash prevention system.
High Marks for Audi
Since the IIHS doesn't routinely test large SUVs, the Q7 is the first to be put through the small overlap front test.
The SUV's front crash prevention system earned a "superior" rating for avoiding a collision in the 12 mph track test and for slowing the vehicle down 23 mph in the 25 mph test.
To take home a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles need "good" ratings in all five crashworthiness evaluations: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Vehicles also need an available front crash prevention system. "Basic" rated systems earn a Top Safety Pick, while those that earn an "advanced" or "superior" rating get the extra "plus."