As if it isn’t hard enough to settle on which of the many cars on the market to buy, there are also several other factors to take into consideration.  Fortunately, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Consumer Guide Automotive have created lists to help consumers find the right car for them.

Earlier today, the IIHS released their list of 66 winners of the 2011 Top Safety Pick Award.  Taking the most awards were Hyundai Motor Corp. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG and its Audi brand, walking away with nine awards.  Close behind with eight awards were General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co,, and Toyota Motor Co.  Subaru, which was the only company to win awards in every vehicle category in which it competes, and Chrysler each had five awards.  Volvo and Mercedes were awarded with four awards while Nissan and Honda were each bestowed with two.  Finishing the list were Mitsubishi and BMW, each earning one award.

Automobiles were tested for protection in front, side, and rear crash tests.  To qualify for an award, cars must have anti-rollover electronic stability control (ESC) and top scores in roof strength tests.

Hyundai was praised for its Genesis sedan, Sonata midsize, and its Santa Fe and Tuscon SUVs.  Additionally, the Sonata earned a top score of 5 stars in the government crash test program.  Winning awards for Volkswagen were its Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Golf and GTI small cars, and its Touareg and Tiguan SUVs.  Its Audi brand received awards for its A3 and A4 sedans as well as its Q5 SUV.  GM was recognized for their Chevrolet Malibu, Cruz, Equinox, Cadillac CTX and SRX, and Buick LaCrosse and Regal and GMC Terrain.  Ford’s Taurus, Fusion, Fiesta, Explorer, and Flex received awards along with Lincoln’s MKS, MKZ, and MKT.

Amid the recall situation Toyota has recently faced, several of their cars received awards.  The company was granted awards for their Avalon, Corolla, Sienna, Highlander, Venza, Lexus RX, and Scion tC and xB.

Kia was applauded for its Optima midsize, Forte and Soul small cars, and their Sorento and Sportage SUVs.  This was a big year for Kia Motors Corp., which was also awarded with 2011 Best Buy by the Consumer Guide Automotive for its 2011 Optima and Sorento.  Their 2011 Sportage earned the distinction of Recommended.