According to the IIHS, “To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of good in the Institute's front, side, rear, and rollover tests and be equipped with electronic stability control.” The previous-model Sonata performed better in front and rear impact crash tests than in side impacts and rollovers.
Improving upon the 2010 Sonata to make qualify for the honor has been no easy feat. Cars.com explains: “Earning the award became tougher when IIHS added a new roof-strength test that is twice as stringent as the federal requirement. As a result, many of the vehicles that had previously qualified as Top Picks fell off the list in 2010.”
Not surprisingly, the new Sonata features a long list of standard safety technology. According to a Hyundai press release: “Sonata is built from the ground up with safety in mind, with a hot stamped ultra-high-strength steel body structure, advanced airbag technology and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), delivering on Hyundai's commitment to both active and passive safety technology leadership. … The Sonata also features a state-of-the-art Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Sonata features six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags—along with active front-seat head restraints.”