The 2019 Hyundai Nexo, a new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, earns the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for vehicles built after June 2019.

The Nexo, which is only available in California, is the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that IIHS has tested. Such a vehicle wouldn’t normally be included in the Institute’s routine test schedule, but the Nexo was nominated for testing by Hyundai. Evaluating the Nexo was also beneficial to IIHS, offering an early opportunity to evaluate a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

To qualify for a 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also needs an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating.

The Nexo, a midsize luxury SUV, has good ratings in all six crashworthiness tests.

Its standard front crash prevention system earns a superior rating. The vehicle avoided collisions in 12 mph and 25 mph track tests and has a forward collision warning system that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

The Nexo’s only available headlights earn a good rating for models built after June, when Hyundai adjusted the headlights’ factory aim to provide better visibility, particularly through curves. Earlier 2019 models earn an acceptable headlight rating, and therefore qualify for the Institute’s second-tier TOP SAFETY PICK award. The SUV comes with standard high-beam assist, which automatically switches between high beams and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles.