Dodge Journey, Lincoln MKT, Mazda Mazda3 all earn "Top Safety Pick"

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has bestowed its highest award on three additional new models: The Dodge Journey, Lincoln MKT and Mazda Mazda3. All three vehicles received the Institute's highest rating in the front, side and rear tests - and all three featured standard stability control.

"Criteria to win are tough because the award is intended to drive continued safety improvements," the IIHS said in a statement.

Of the three, only the Dodge received the IIHS' top marks in every single category. The Lincoln and Mazda received a handful of "Accpetable" ratings, although their overall evaluations were strong enough to receive the "Top Safety Pick" award.

The Mazda3 was the first from the automaker, aside from the Ford Escape-based Tribute, to qualify for the award. Chrysler picked up its first award earlier this year when the related Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger were rated as Top Safety Picks. Several Lincoln models, including the MKZ, MKS and MKX, have already received the award.