TORONTO — The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, equipped with optional front crash prevention, has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.

The TOP SAFETY PICK+ is IIHS’ highest award. In order to receive this award, a vehicle must attain a good rating in the institute’s five occupant protection tests and an advanced or superior rating for an available front crash prevention system.

The Santa Fe Sport received good ratings in the institute’s moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints tests. Santa Fe Sport’s optional Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection earned a superior rating.

"The Santa Fe Sport avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph. The system also has a forward collision warning component that meets the NHTSA criteria,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer.

"We are thrilled that Santa Fe Sport has achieved the gold standard for SUV safety from IIHS and NHTSA in the U.S.," said Ken Maisonville, national manager of product strategy, Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. "These awards underline our commitment to developing advanced technologies that assist in avoiding crashes all together. A class-leading body structure protects occupants if a collision does occur."

Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Santa Fe lineup includes: vehicle stability management with electronic stability control and traction control system; seven airbags; four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist; hill-start assist control with downhill brake control; and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Earlier this year, the IIHS and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a joint announcement that 20 automakers had made a commitment to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all their vehicles by 2022.

AEB systems use on-vehicle sensors like radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash and warn the driver. If the driver does not react quickly enough, the system applies brakes automatically for the driver. According to NHTSA and IIHS, mounting evidence has suggested that automatic emergency braking systems have effectively reduced crashes and injuries in the U.S. and around the world.

Hyundai sold 7,150 Santa Fe units in April, a 33.8% drop from the 10,054 that were sold in the year-ago period. Overall sales in April were down for Hyundai. The manufacturer’s reported 62,213 vehicles sold during the month were an 8.5% decrease compared to April 2015.