Auto body repair professionals across Tucson have heard the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Powers That Be crystal clearly: the Nissan Sentra and Infiniti Qx60 are destined to be the illusive unicorns of collision repair bays nationwide this year.

The most recent safety ratings from the U.S.-based insurance industry organization capped extensive crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation tests that took a thorough measure of hundreds of vehicles. When the dust settled, the IIHS awarded the two imports its apex Top Safety Pick+ designation in honor both vehicles achieving “Good” ratings across five crashworthiness criteria, despite only recent testing availability for their front crash prevention systems.

The Sentra managed to entirely avoid a collision during the 12 mph track test, IIHS reported, but faltered somewhat during the 25 mph track test with a 10 mph lower impact speed upon crashing. Meanwhile, the nimble Infiniti Qx60 dodged crashes in both tests.

“Infiniti is obviously pleased to receive the exclusive IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which reflects the organization’s strictest testing standards, for the 2016 QX60,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Randy Parker. “The enhancements to the QX60 for the new model year, especially in the expansion of its advanced technology features, once again raise the standard in the premium crossover segment.”

Aut body repair technicians familiar with IIHS testing value crashworthiness data for reliably predicting a vehicle’s dependability in protecting occupants during a crash. That particular data set includes rating each vehicle’s performance in moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Grades vary from Poor up to Marginal, Acceptable, or Good.

Assessing crash avoidance and mitigation demands a separate methodology. When available in tested vehicles, IIHS testers award front crash prevention systems track performance grades of Basic, Advances or Superior based in part on the exact type of system being evaluated. Unlike crashworthiness tests that measure how vehicles react when involved in a collision, crash avoidance and mitigation tests review how effectively some technology reduces damage severity in a collision or prevent one from occurring in the first place.

Prior to the Sentra and QX60, IIHS bestowed Top Safety Pick+ honors upon the 2016 model year Toyota Prius, Kia Optima, Mini Cooper, and Audi’s newly revamped Q7.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and have some safety questions that burn for unbiased answers, don’t hesitate to ask where it concerns safety in a worst-case scenario. An experienced Tucson auto body repair professional may be able to shed some light on a vehicle you’re considering, and in a clearer fashion than a sales representative might offer.

Also joining the Top Safety Pick+ list in recent months are the 2016 versions of the Toyota Prius, Kia Optima, Mini Cooper and the redesigned Audi Q7.