The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the USA has introduced a new crash safety test simulating an off-center accident, and the results after testing eleven mid-size luxury automobiles were not good — here’s a quote from the IIHS press release:
Only 3 of 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars evaluated earn good or acceptable ratings…
The Acura TL and Volvo S60 earn good ratings, while the Infiniti G earns acceptable. The Acura TSX, BMW 3 series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC earn marginal ratings. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 earn poor. All of these cars are 2012 models.
In the test, 25 percent of a car’s front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. A 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy is belted in the driver seat. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.
Lexus issued the following statement in Automotive News:
Toyota said in a statement that there will not be a “one-size-fits-all” solution to achieving “greater crash protection in this area.”
In regards to potential costs and added vehicle weight, the company said it’s too early to speculate.
Toyota is reviewing the details of the test, which it received Aug. 1.
“With this new test, the Institute has raised the bar again and we will respond to this challenge as we design new vehicles,” the company said.
The absolute best source of information is the PDF brochure from the IIHS — it details the reasoning and results in a very clear and understandable way.
Update: It’s been a few hours since posting this story, and I wanted to add a couple points:
- This was the first time that the IIHS has used this new crash test, and 72% of the vehicles involved failed to pass.
- It’s being reported that nearly a quarter of all serious and fatal automotive injuries are caused by this type of crash.
- Every vehicle that was tested meets all federal safety standards and has done well in other crash tests.
To be clear, this is an industry-wide problem — the IIHS just decided to start in the midsize-luxury segment.