IIHS: Few midsize cars excel in updated side crash test

Only three out of seven midsize cars tested achieve good or acceptable ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s updated side crash test

Only three out of seven midsize cars tested achieve good or acceptable ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s updated side-crash test.

The Subaru Outback is the only mid-sized car with a good rating. With slightly higher levels of intrusion into the passenger compartment, the Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta achieve acceptable ratings.

Overall, this first batch of mid-sized cars didn’t perform as well as the first batches of small and mid-sized SUVs evaluated earlier. One reason could be their lower ride height.

“On vehicles that sit lower to the ground, the conspicuous barrier goes higher on the door panel,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “That may put sedans and wagons at a disadvantage in this evaluation, but reflects what happens in a real crash when these vehicles are hit by a higher-traveling pickup or SUV.”

The driver and rear passenger head protection airbags performed well in the Outback, Sonata and Jetta, contributing to a low risk of head and neck injury to the occupants in both seats. However, the injury sizes were slightly increased for the driver’s pelvis and the rear passenger’s trunk in the Jetta and the rear passenger’s pelvis in the Sonata.

The Honda Accord earns a marginal rating, and the Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry earn poor ratings.

There was moderate B-pillar intrusion into the Accord’s passenger compartment. The driver’s pelvic injuries were slightly elevated and the driver’s head moved down past the side curtain airbag to make contact with the windowsill during the crash.

The Altima and Malibu showed significant intrusion into the passenger compartment, but the Camry’s safety cage held up well. The injury measurements indicated a high risk of trunk and pelvic injury for the driver in the Altima, a moderate risk of trunk and pelvic injury for the driver and a high risk of pelvic injury for the rear passenger in the Camry, and a high risk of head and neck injuries. or neck injury to the driver in the Malibu. In all three vehicles, the heads of the driver’s or rear passenger’s dummy or both slid under the side curtain airbag to make contact with the windowsill.

IIHS developed the updated side-impact crash test after research found that many of the true side-impact crashes, which still account for nearly a quarter of passenger car occupant fatalities, are more serious than the original evaluation.

The updated side crash test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the crashing vehicle. The new barrier weighs 4,200 pounds — close to the weight of today’s mid-sized SUVs — and hits the test vehicle at 37 mph, compared to a 3,300-pound barrier traveling at 50 mph in the original evaluation.

For now, the updated test is not included in the IIHS award criteria. However, from 2023, a good or acceptable rating is required for the lower level TOP SAFETY CHOICE distinction and a good assessment is needed for the higher level TOP SAFETY CHOICE+.

All seven of these vehicles achieve good ratings in the original side test.

Reviews in Updated Side Test: Medium Cars

  • G Good
  • A Acceptable
  • m marginal
  • p Arm

SOURCE: IIHS

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