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.