There's a reason they're all considered among the best family cars out there.
The Audi A7 Sportback is a luxurious coupe-styled sedan near the top of Audis hierarchy; the Toyota Sienna is a reborn family minivan now only available with a hybrid drivetrain; and the Acura TLX is the Japanese luxury brand's way of relaunching the sports sedan. So what do these three models have in common? Besides the fact that they all have four wheels, it's the fact that all three have been awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) most prestigious honor for 2021, as all three now bear the title of IIHS Top Safety Pick +.
The award is arguably the most important passenger safety award for automobiles in the United States, as a vehicle needs to achieve top scores in a variety of areas, including the small front overlap tests and the all-important headlight evaluation, an often-overlooked aspect of automotive safety. More than this, the vehicles need to be top performers in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention measures.
For the Toyota Sienna, the award is an important one, as the Sienna was redesigned for the new model year to replace a minivan that was very long in the tooth and was regularly criticized for not having contemporary safety features. The small front overlap tests were a particular weak point, but the 2021 model's structure has been redesigned and now excels, while the advanced range of collision avoidance systems, pedestrian detection, and two highly-rated sets of LED headlights place the Sienna at the top of its class.
The A7 achieved top scores of Good in all six crash categories, while the Audi pre sense front safety suite, standard on all A7 models, received a Superior rating - the best there is. The LED headlights, and the available Matrix-design LED headlights, both received Acceptable ratings, enough to earn the A7 the award. These systems are all bolstered by lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, an available top-view camera, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Acura TLX, redesigned completely for the 2021 model year, is not only a return to form for Acura with a new Type S model joining the ranks, but is also a strong contender against the BMW 3 Series. Safety is key in such an endeavor, and the TLX delivers top scores in all crashworthiness tests, achieved best-possible ratings of Good for the LED projector headlights on all trims, and picked up Superior results for the collision avoidance systems. Even the LATCH anchors were rated as Good+, which is an often overlooked aspect for child safety.