the 66 safest vehicles for 2011

The number of cars and trucks awarded top safety honors by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety more than doubled for 2011, with 66 vehicles cited as best for protecting occupants in front, side, rollover and rear crashes.

The Virginia-based industry-supported group, which prods automakers to improve the safety of vehicles, announced its Top Safety Picks for 2011 late Tuesday, honoring 40 cars, 25 SUVs and one minivan. Among automakers, Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motor Corp. and its Kia unit had the most vehicles honored — nine. Only 27 vehicles qualified for last year's award, after the group toughened its standards in 2009, requiring automakers to do more to strengthen vehicle roofs and protect occupants during rollover crashes. Read more on Insurance Institute.