Kurt Verlin
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Six 2020 Honda Models Earn IIHS Top Safety Ratings

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2020 Honda CR-V (blue) & CR-V Hybrid
Photo: Honda

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has granted five Honda models its Top Safety Pick rating and one its Top Safety Pick+ rating, showing that 2019 safety ratings are a good indicator of what to expect for 2020 models.

The five models to earn the TSP designation were the 2020 Honda Accord, CR-V, and the coupe, sedan, and hatchback variants of the Civic. The Insight four-door sedan earned the TSP+ rating thanks to its superior headlights.

All six models received the highest possible rating of “Good” in each of the IIHS’s crashworthiness test, which include small overlap front crash tests for both the driver and passenger side — traditionally difficult tests to pass with top marks.

All six models also received the highest possible “Superior” rating for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention, save for the Accord, which earned the 2nd-highest “Advanced” rating in the latter category.

Vehicle Spotlight: 2019 Honda Insight

Where all but the Insight fell short, with regard to earning the highly-coveted TSP+ rating, was in the headlight category. To earn an IIHS TSP+ rating, models must have acceptable or good headlights that come as standard equipment. Most Honda models offered good headlights as an option, but came with only marginal or poor headlights as standard. Only the Insight had good headlights regardless of trim or options.

The headlight tests were added by the IIHS in 2017 after it found that half of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark and that the vast majority of new cars’ headlights do not provide appropriate levels of visibility. Immediately after adding headlight quality to its TSP requirements, the number of TSP-rated vehicles declined sharply, but automakers have since been making improvements.

Nonetheless, the safety ratings for Honda’s 2020 models so far mirror that of its 2019 models. While it’s good that all of Honda’s models perform very well in crashes, and that the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistive technologies — now standard or available in all new Hondas — works so well at avoiding vehicle and pedestrian collisions, it would also be good for the automaker to include its better headlights at all trim levels.

Vehicle Spotlight: 2019 Honda CR-V