Luxury vehicles armed with optional automatic braking and collision warning systems apparently topped front crash prevention rankings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute provides ratings to vehicles -- basic, advanced or superior -- for front crash prevention depending on whether the models offer automatic braking and how effective the system is during front crash tests at speeds of 12 mph and 25 mph.
Carmakers also are making such automatic braking system widely available, with greater stopping power. According to IIHS, over 20 percent of 2014 models feature some level of automatic braking capability.
During the latest round of tests, 21 of 24 models were rated mid-level “advanced” or top “superior” while the remaining three vehicles -- BMW 3 series, Infiniti Q70 and Toyota Avalon -- earned a “basic” rating for offering only minimal automatic stopping capability.
Models that earned superior ratings include the BMW 5 series and X5 SUV, Hyundai Genesis and Mercedes-Benz E-class models. According to IIHS, an improved front crash prevention system featuring both cameras and radar allowed the 2014 BMW X5 SUVs and 5-series models to earn “superior” ratings.
For systems that employs on a camera, they only earned “advanced” ratings. Vehicles offering automatic braking technology like the Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala were given “superior” ratings, but fell short of gaining perfect scores since they feature less stopping power than necessary for a perfect score.
In the first batch of front crash prevention tests released in September 2013, only around 20 percent of the 74 models tested were given “advanced” or “superior” ratings. For 2015 model year vehicles, they need to earned at least an “advanced” rating on front crash prevention tests to be able to earn the IIHS’s “Top Safety Pick +” accolade. For the current model year, a “basic” rating is enough. [source: automotive news - sub. required]