Honda and Volvo receive good marks on IIHS overlap crash tests

Article by Anita Panait, on March 8, 2013

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given top safety marks to Honda and Volvo after conducting overlap crash tests on their respective models, thanks to safety enhancements the carmakers have implemented. The 2013 Honda Civic became the first small car to gain a "good" rating in the institute's new small overlap test, helped by Honda's second generation advanced compatibility body (ACE II) structure.

Both the Civic’s two- and four-door variants earned the rating.  Chuck Thomas, chief engineer of automotive safety for Honda R&D Americas Inc., remarked that the ACE II reinforced the body structure of the 2013 Civic, adding around 26 lbs.

In an interview with Automotive News, Thomas remarked that the biggest thing to look at on these types of changes is how to minimize the impact of adding mass to the vehicle. Volvo likewise achieved similar marks thanks to an update on the airbag algorithm of its XC60 luxury sedan to make sure that the side curtain airbag deploys during collisions.

The new overlap test assesses how well vehicles could handle a 40-mph frontal collision in which there is 25-percent overlap with a five-foot-tall rigid barrier. This is a modification of the IIHS’s moderate 40-percent overlap test.

The percentage used to describe the size of the test refers to the part of the vehicle's front end that hits the barrier. The small overlap test attempts to establish what occurs when a vehicle’s front corner collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. The mid-sized Lincoln MKZ and Mazda 6 earned "acceptable" ratings from IIHS -- all of which are 2013 models except for the 2014 Mazda 6. These were the models involved in this round of testing.

Although the Honda Civic underwent a mid-model refresh for the 2013 model year, the changes made were more prominent than usual. For instance, both the front and rear ends of the 2013 Honda Civic Sedan were completed modified, including a new hood and trunk lid. It features honeycomb mesh grille (with new integrated fog lights on EX-L and above trims) flanked by new clear-lens corner lights as well as a new open-mouth lower bumper with a horizontal chrome accent. Moreover, the new Civic now features a taller and more deeply faceted bonnet.

At the rear, the bumper – which features a new design - -and the new rear trunk lid feature a neat horizontal chrome trim piece. Reflector treatments are now integrated into the rear bumper while the new lower diffuser panel now features a honeycomb mesh vent. The Civic’s jewel-like taillights now extend to the trunk, thereby resulting to a more upscale appearance. For the 2013 model year, the new Honda Civic is fitted with restyled wheels for a sharper look.

Since the body of the 2013 Honda Civic is made from 55-percent high-strength steel, it is now lighter yet stronger and more rigid than its predecessor. Likewise, the body of the new Civic features modifications on the front floor, A-pillar and side sill, as well as on the upper wheel housing and front bumper extension.

By employing high-strength steel, the new Civic provides a stiffer structure to better accommodate the plethora of chassis updates. Moreover, Honda designed the new structure of the Civic to earn high rating from the small overlap crash test of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Topics: honda, volvo, iihs, crash test

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