"Most drivers when they buy a auto they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are, our new test is to try to achieve that", said IIHS President Adrian Lund.
To qualify for the rating, vehicles needed to earn a headlight rating of "good", and a "good" or "acceptable" rating for the passenger-side small overlap front test. The institute also tests headlight systems where IIHS engineers measure the reach of a vehicle's headlights on straight roads and on curves.
Subaru had four vehicles earn the IIHS "Top Pick Plus" safety designation.
Here's a closer look at the 15 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners for 2018.
Leading the way this year for the most top safety pick plus awards are Hyundai and Subaru. It's similar to the existing small front overlap test, a rigorous evaluation that crashes a vehicle into a barrier at 40 miles per hour with just 25 percent of the driver-side front end striking the obstacle. Adrian Lund, president, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
"Most drivers when they buy a vehicle they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are".
"Fifteen vehicles meeting these new tougher criteria for top safety pick plus is a good news story for consumers", said Lund.
"The improvements in occupant protection have been incredible over the past decades", Lund said.
Despite safer vehicles, there was a 5.6 percent uptick in US auto crash deaths in 2016, the second consecutive year numbers were higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers.