Among the many accolades that have been handed down to the 2013 Ford Focus, you can now add “outstandingly safe” to the list. The reason is that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the Focus a Top Safety Pick+, the highest-possible safety rating awarded by the institute for vehicles that demonstrate way-above-average performance in keeping both their drivers, and the drivers of other vehicles, safe.

Now, the 2013 Ford Focus isn’t the only Louisville Ford on the road that has an outstanding safety record. Nor is it the only Ford vehicle to have been named a particularly safe vehicle by the widely respected IIHS. But in earning the highest possible safety rating, the Focus has proved that being a small, affordable, economical and fuel-efficient car is no barrier to keeping the lucky owner of such a car safe on the road.

The IIHS rates vehicles in a number of different categories to determine the correct safety rating. The tests include frontal crash, side impact, rollover situations, and safety/head restraints. While their normal rating system awards a car either “good,” “acceptable,” “marginal,” or “poor,” the “Top Safety Pick+” category is new this year, for those vehicles like the 2013 Ford Focus that stand out among the rest in their safety performance.

Ford is committed to designing vehicles that help keep people safe,” said Ford Automotive Safety Office director Steve Kenner. To this end, the design team took a holistic, whole-vehicle approach toward the safety aspects of the Focus. This approach included high-strength steels in the body to protect the driver, and special Boron steel to re-direct crash forces away from the driver. Their efforts have paid off, and the IIHS has attested to this vehicles safety credentials.