Highway safety tests reveals safest cars for passengers

Angelica Greene
October 22, 2017

Yours truly first reported about this matter in June 2016, when the Insurance Institute tested seven sport utility vehicles for passenger side crashworthiness.

"When we published that research, we said we were considering adding a passenger-side test to our awards criteria", Mueller said.

The new IIHS side small overlap crash test sends a vehicle into a barrier at 40 miles per hour with 25 percent of the vehicle's front end overlapping the barrier on the passenger side.

Among midsize vehicles produced for 2017 and 2018, 10 out of 13 earned a good rating, while the Volkswagen Jetta earned an acceptable rating and the Volkswagen Passat and the Chevrolet Malibu earned marginal ratings.

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The passenger-side small overlap front crash test, which duplicates the same test on the driver's side of the vehicle, sends a vehicle into a barrier at 64 km/h (40 mph) with just 25 per cent of the vehicle's front end overlapping the barrier.

The 2016 Hyundai Tucson offered equal protection for the driver and passenger in the front seat according to the testing, i.e. earning a "good" rating while the others scored poor or acceptable.

In contrast with a group of 2014-16 model small SUVs tested, none of the 2017-18 midsize cars had a poor or marginal structural rating.

The IIHS says passing this new passenger side crash test will be mandatory for any carmaker hoping to get a top safety pick plus rating this year. Instead, the biggest problem in the new group was inconsistent airbag protection in five cars, which could put passengers' heads at risk, IIHS noted. The Outback's "Good" passenger-side rating also applies to the 2018 Legacy. Subaru announced today, two of their vehicles, aced a new passenger crash test. That being the case, it will be interesting to see if automakers will pay attention to the IIHS' tips. "Optimizing airbags and safety belts to provide better head protection for front-seat passengers appears to be the most urgent task now".

Other reports by GizPress

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