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2014 Top Picks For Safest Vehicles Released

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety has released its 2014 top picks for safest vehicles. And only 39 made the cut this year because of tougher standards.
...if it can prevent that crash in the first place, that's even better.
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety has released its 2014 top picks for safest  vehicles.  And only 39  made the cut this year because of tougher standards.

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) crashed cars at 40 miles per hour to find out which ones performed best in an accident.

This year the research group went a step further and found out which cars were best at preventing a crash using warning systems or automatic braking.

"We think as important as it is for a vehicle to protect you in a crash its important to know if it can prevent that crash in the first place, that's even better," says Adrian Lund, president of IIHS.

To get a top ranking cars also had to get a good or acceptable grade in the "small -overlap" crash test. It shows how well a car holds up when just a portion of the vehicle hits another car or object.

"What happens is a lot of the front crash protection strategy that is built into the vehicle is bypassed.  And so manufacturers have had to change their designs to do well in this crash scenario," Lund says.

Because of the tougher standards only 39 cars received top safety ratings this year compared to 130 last year.  See if your car makes the list here  

22 earned the highest ranking of "top safety pick plus." 17 picked up the lesser ranking of "top safety pick."

Honda, which also owns the Acura brand, had the most winners of any automaker. Eight of its vehicles made the list with half - including the Honda Accord earning the highest ranking.

This annual ranking is often used by safety-minded car shoppers and by automakers in their advertising.
There are eight newcomers to the list, including Infinity's Q50, the Mazda 3, Toyota Highlander and the Chevrolet Spark mini-car.

(Marlie Hall for CBS News)

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