New Hyundai Sonata gets IIHS 'Top Safety Pick+' rating

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co.'s brand-new Sonata midsize family sedan received the "Top Safety Pick+" rating from a U.S. motor safety institute, making it one of the safest cars on the road, South Korea's No. 1 carmaker said Friday.

The new model, which comes equipped with the optional forward collision warning system, won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) recognition, the company said. The vehicle received the best "good" rating for occupant protection in the critical moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also got the second-best grade "acceptable" in the small overlap test.

The recognition marks the second time this year that a vehicle made by Hyundai Motor received the rating from the IIHS. The first was the Genesis premium sedan that got the first ever perfect score in all 29 safety categories checked, including the coveted "good" rating in the small overlap test. The good rating in the small overlap test was a first for a rear wheel-drive sedan with a longitudinally mounted engine.

The company said the latest rating will further improve the company's brand equity and boost sales of the 2015 Sonata that started reaching consumers in the United States last month. Sales in Hyundai's home market started in May.

When the new Sonata was launched, Hyundai said it used high-tensile steel for 51 percent of the car frame, up sharply from 21 percent in the outgoing sixth generation model. Extensive use of advanced steel enhances structural stiffness and rigidity and boosts passenger safety.

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