2012 Acura TL excels in ‘small overlap frontal barrier crash test’

Article by Christian A., on August 16, 2012

The Acura 2012 TL has received a GOOD rating in a test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety known as the small overlap frontal barrier crash test. This is a test that looks into the effects of a collision between a car and a fixed object, wherein only 25% of the car’s front structure touches the object.

The TL line is just one of two cars, among ten different vehicles, to get a GOOD rating. This type of collision is seen by the IIHS as a danger since it accounts for a quarter of crashes in the country that have resulted to fatalities or very serious injuries. The test, as conducted by the IIHS, looks into what happens when a car travelling at 40 mph collides with a fixed object like a light pole.

Thus to minimize the injuries, the car must have a strong body structure that allows it to absorb any energy resulting from the collision and redistribute it. The 2012 TL already has the body structure that can minimize the impact of such collision to the occupants but it adds other safety features like airbags on the front and sides of the car.

A statement from the IIHS revealed that the side and front airbags of the TL enabled the head to not come into contact with hard structures thus ensuring that injury is minimized or prevented. All of Acura’s TL models already have the Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure but it is currently working on a new system.

This body structure, once implemented, will not just reinforce the already strong frame but also improve the management of crash energy. The design allows the interconnected structural elements of the body to redistribute the energy to the front of the car ensuring that the energy is dissipated and the forced that is transferred to the occupants is greatly reduced.

Acura expects that once this is in place, it will improve further its chances of getting a GOOD rating in the future. Other safety features of the Acura include seatbelts that have load limiters, as well, as an automatic tensioning system.

It also has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System and a Vehicle Stability Assist that allows for traction control. Acura remains strong in the belief that with innovation should come safety and that a high level of occupant safety is always a top priority for all of its models.

The Automotive Lease Guide (ALG) award for best residual value is given only to brands exhibiting strong value and exemplary quality. Bagging the 2011 ALG award for best residual value of any Near Luxury vehicle is the Acura TL and taking the second overall spot for best residual value for all Luxury Brands is the Japanese luxury car maker itself.

Of course, Honda’s luxury vehicle marque doesn’t stop after just one win and it continues to further refine the Acura TL for 2012. The most obvious visual modification is its new front and rear styling. Furthermore, its new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission helps improve both performance and fuel economy. Revisions have also been done on the interior as well as various technological updates.

Visually, the 2012 TL sports a redesigned front bumper boasting improved aerodynamics, as well as a revised grille, updated headlights and turn signals, a new fog light design and a front overhang shorter than the previous model’s.

Design-wise, Acura is pulling the TL into the design direction followed by its popular SUV models such as the ZDX, MDX and RDX; an example is its new lower front fascia openings. Acura Project Lead Designer Damon Schell even says that compared to the 2009 TL, the 2012 TL will deviate more on a sophistication for its design rather than focusing on passion as did the former.

The rear side of the 2012 TL has also received a couple of upgrades such as its new rear bumper with a repositioned license plate opening and smaller rear reflectors, updated taillights and a thinner rear truck edge trim – everything following the “sophisticated” design that Acura wants to pull off on the said car. To top it off, among its upgrades and improvements are new 17- and 18-inch aluminum wheels with a revised center cap and a the iconic Acura “A’’ symbol on its rear, raised-style and chrome-plated.

Press Release

Acura TL Sedan Earns Top-Level GOOD Rating in New Insurance Institute Frontal Small Overlap Barrier Test

The 2012 Acura TL has earned a top-level rating of GOOD in the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small overlap frontal barrier crash test, designed to simulate a collision between a vehicle and a fixed object, such as a utility pole, where only 25 percent of the vehicle’s front structure is engaged by the opposing object. The TL was one of only two vehicles to achieve the highest rating of GOOD among a group of ten models that were the first to be tested under this rigorous new crash test protocol.

“Acura is working continuously to advance the safety performance of our vehicles and to provide high levels of occupant protection through smart technology and vehicle design,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of Corporate Planning and Logistics. “As one of the very first vehicles to achieve a GOOD rating in this new test, Acura illustrates the leadership of our vehicles in key areas that are important to our customers.”

The new IIHS test involves a collision between a fixed five-foot-tall rigid barrier and a vehicle traveling at 40 miles per hour. This frontal impact test focuses stress on a narrow section of the vehicle, outside of the side frame, which is typically the primary energy absorbing structure in frontal crashes, and requires a strong cabin structure. According to a 2009 study by the IIHS, small overlap crashes accounted for nearly 25 percent of frontal crashes resulting in a serious injury or fatality.

In addition to the Acura TL’s frontal body structure, the front and side curtain airbags played an instrumental part in protecting the occupant from serious injury. According to the IIHS, “The Acura TL’s front and side curtain airbags worked well together to keep the head from coming close to any stiff structures or objects that could cause injury.”

Acura is in the process of incorporating the second generation of its Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. This reinforced front frame structure provides further enhanced frontal crash energy management through a wider range of offset and oblique crashes. The result of such efforts will provide the capability to achieve a GOOD rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) new frontal small overlap testing, with new Acura model introductions moving forward.

All models in the current Acura line up utilize the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. ACE is an exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment.

Standard safety equipment on all Acura models includes Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control, ABS, dual-stage/multiple-threshold front airbags, front-side airbags, side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions, front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Daytime Running Lights (DRL).

Acura’s “Safety Through Innovation” initiative is based on the brand’s commitment to leadership in safety— and excellent safety is a paramount element in every new vehicle that Acura builds. The initiative’s goal is for all Acura models to provide a high level of safety.

Topics: acura, crash test

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