For 2018, the institute implemented new requirements for headlights and frontal crash evaluations, which left just 15 vehicles that qualified for the Top Safety Pick+ award.
Fifteen vehicles earned the IIHS's top safety pick award including several of Hyundai's Kia and Genesis models.
IIHS has been recognizing vehicles with the Top Safety Pick rating since 2006. Mercedes Benz, Subaru, Toyota and Ford also had models listed as top safety picks. The 2018 Subaru Impreza, Legacy, Outback and WRX models earned the institute's highest Top Safety Pick+ award when those models are equipped with Subaru's EyeSight driver assist technology and LED steering responsive headlights.
"Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are", IIHS President Adrian Lund said, according to Consumer Reports.
The IIHS is putting more focus on passenger safety this year with the addition of a new small-overlap front passenger crash test. The sole Subaru model that did not qualify was the BRZ.
"Most drivers when they buy a auto they think the passenger is going to be protected as well as they are".
To earn the awards, vehicles go through a number of crash tests to show they can protect occupants in front, side, rollover and rear impact collisions as well as testing automatic emergency breaking systems.
Subaru had the most Safety Pick+ vehicles.
Also relatively new are the headlight ratings, which were first instituted in March 2016, and the initial results were poor.
"All automakers have pledged to make auto braking standard equipment on their vehicles by 2022", said Lund. The track tests, which measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other.