The 2011 Saab 9-5 and the 2011 and 2012 Volkswagen CC received the Top Safety Pick designation in the midsize luxury/near-luxury category from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
These cars had previously earned the title, which is awarded to vehicles that receive the agency’s top rating — Good — in front, side and rear crash tests, and have electronic stability control. But that was before IIHS implemented its tough roof-strength test, making it harder for new cars to be named Top Safety Picks. To pass the test, a vehicle’s roof must be able to withstand the force of four times the vehicle’s weight. The VW CC’s roof can withstand 4.4 times its own weight; the 9-5 can withstand 5.85 times its own weight.
The Top Safety Pick designation on the CC applies only to the front-wheel-drive model because the heavier all-wheel-drive model was rated Acceptable in the roof-strength test.
Neither vehicle has been fully tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, whose tests include more side impact test data.
Altogether, IIHS recently completed roof-strength tests for eight midsize/large family and luxury cars. The 2011 Lexus ES 350 earned a Good rating in roof strength, but it was rated Acceptable for rear crash protection. The 2011 BMW 3 Series, Chevrolet Impala, Infiniti G series, Lexus IS and Saab 9-3 all earned Acceptable ratings in the roof-strength test.