Americans, right or wrong, tend to equate the size of a vehicle with its safety. While you can’t get around the laws of physics, the latest testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that small cars, when designed properly, can be safe, too.

The latest vehicles to earn the institute’s coveted “Top Safety Pick” award are the compact Acura ILX sedan, the Scion FR-S sport coupe and its fraternal twin, the Subaru BRZ. Also making the list is the redesigned Ford (NYSE:F) Escape crossover, which fares noticeably better than earlier versions in roof strength testing.

To achieve the Top Safety Pick designation, vehicles must score “Good,” the IIHS’ highest designation, in frontal overlap, side and rear impact crash testing. In addition, a vehicle must score “Good” on roof strength testing meant to simulate the conditions of a rollover crash.

New for the 2013 model year, the Acura ILX is built on the Honda Civic platform, and is available with both hybrid and conventional powertrains. Targeted primarily at Millennial buyers, the ILX was designed as a gateway-to-the-brand vehicle for Honda’s luxury division.

Also new for 2013, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are the finished products of a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru. Designed as an homage to legendary Toyotas of the past, such as the 2000GT and the AE86 Toyota Corolla, the pair represent the first lightweight and affordable front engine, rear drive sports cars launched in decades.