Safety matters, and there are 57 vehicles that stand out for protection on the road. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released their 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and TOP SAFETY PICK awards. Thirty cars and utilities made it to the top tier "plus" award. They were separated from the rest of the pack by earning the highest rating for passenger-side protection in a small overlap front crash and have good-rated available headlights. This is the first year the IIHS requires a good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test to earn a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award. It used to be acceptable or good to achieve this distinction. The 27 TOP SAFETY PICK award winners offer an acceptable or higher rating in the newest IIHS crash test and the nighttime headlight studies. Those headlight ratings held back 18 of these from receiving the "plus" award.

The vehicles on both lists managed good ratings on the Institute's five other crashworthiness evaluations and have an available automatic emergency braking system. It’s interesting to note that among the manufacturers, most of the award winners come with optionally equipped safety features. The IIHS points out good or acceptable headlights and an advanced- or superior-rated front crash prevention system aren't part of many base trims at this point. They also say more 2019 models could be added to these lists when they’re evaluated.

Subaru had the most models on the 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ list, followed by the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands.  For a look at the entire list click here.