The crazy kids at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have developed another new crash test, and have seriously bloodied some companies noises with it. This newest impact is designed to test a “glancing blow” style crash, where only the first 25-percent of a vehicle is struck versus the IIHS 50-percent frontal offset standard. This test was created to see what happens to a vehicle if it were to collide with and object like a tree or a utility pole.
Institute President Adrian Lund exolains that, ”Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year. Small overlap crashes are a major source of these fatalities.”
For this first round of testing, the IIHS took 11 mid-size luxury and near-luxury cars, and the results were not good. Only two received the vaunted “Good” rating, the Volvo S60 and the Acura TL, with the Infiniti G earning an “Acceptable rating. Cars that received a rating of “Marginal” include the Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ and the Volkswagen CC. Falling even further down the ratings with a score of “Poor”, we have the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Lexus IS 250/350, the Lexus ES 350 and the Audi A4.
“These are severe crashes, and our new test reflects that,” Lund says. “Most automakers design their vehicles to ace our moderate overlap frontal test and NHTSA’s full-width frontal test, but the problem of small overlap crashes hasn’t been addressed.”
We think that these new test demonstrate that fairly well. The institute has said that it has chosen the luxury and near-luxury segment as a starting point, because these vehicles are usually the first to receive advanced safety equipment and technology. Its next round of testing will asses the mass market midsize segment with cars like the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion.
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