2018 VW Atlas earns IIHS Top Safety Pick Awards


A pair of crossovers, one small and the other enormous, managed to walk away from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing with 2017 Top Safety Pick awards. Both the 2017 Mini Countryman and 2018 Volkswagen Atlas received ratings of "Good" for their performance in the IIHS' small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

The Countryman also received a rating of "Advanced" for its available frontal crash prevention tech, while the Atlas got an even better rating of "Superior." The difference is that the VW managed to stop completely in the 12-mph test and reduced its speed by 17 mph in the 25-mph test. Though it still received a passing grade, the Mini simply reduced its speed by 7 mph in both tests.

Both the Atlas and Countryman, however, failed to achieve IIHS top billing as Top Safety Pick+ winners. To do that, a vehicle must receive ratings of "Good" or "Acceptable" in the institute's new headlight test. Both crossovers received "Marginal" ratings despite the tested cars in question being equipped with upgraded headlights. To be fair, not many cars have been doing better since the IIHS started testing headlights.

Of other note is that the family-oriented Atlas managed only a "Marginal rating" for the ease of use of its child seat LATCH anchors. Competitors like the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9 managed "Acceptable" scores while the Toyota Highlander netted a top "Good" score. The Countryman actually got an "Acceptable" score. This test doesn't play a part in determining Top Safety Pick status.

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