Toyota execs must get a little jumpy every time they read news with their brand name and "safety" in the headline. But for the first time in awhile, there's good news for the automaker: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named three Toyota vehicles Top Safety Picks for 2010. The winning vehicles are the 2011 model year Toyota Avalon, Toyota Sienna and Lexus RX.
The awards are given to vehicles that receive the institute's highest rating ("good") for front, side, rollover and rear crash protection. This new round of awards takes place after new rollover test results have come to light. (Electronic stability control -- standard on all three of these models -- is also a requirement for a Top Safety Pick award.)
Of course, Lexus experienced its own safety-related snafu: Consumer Reports' "don't buy" recommendation for the GX 460 (later lifted). While the RX isn't the same model, of course, being able to point to a few IIHS awards, as well as the automaker's quick response to the stability control "problems" in the GX 460, should go a long way toward assuaging the fears of the safety-conscious drivers who tend to buy luxury SUVs and crossovers.