New Insurance Institute crash test shows that not all car models are safe

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 15, 2012

Of the 11 mid-sized luxury and near-luxury cars tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on how well they handled small overlap head-on collisions, only two vehicles achieved “good” ratings. These are the Acura TL and Volvo S60. An "acceptable" rating was given to the Infiniti G. The Acura TSX sedan/sport wagon, BMW 3 series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC received "marginal" ratings.

Earning “poor” ratings were the Mercedes-Benz C class, Audi A4, Lexus ES 350 and Lexus IS 250/350. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety subjected these 2012 upscale cars to this new crash safety test, the small frontal overlap test, to check how they would manage during 40-mph frontal collisions in which there was 25% overlap with a 5-foot-tall deformable barrier.

This examination is a modification of the IIHS’s moderate 40% overlap test. The moderate overlap test is used by the European New Car Assessment Program while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration subjects the cars to a full-width frontal testing. A spokesman said that the NHTSA is developing a 20% overlap test. Automakers like Mercedes and Honda have been vocal about how the new test recreates an unusual accident scenario as well as how it leads to potential vehicle-handling issues.

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