2012 Lexus IS 250 & ES 350 Included in New IIHS Crash Test Results

2012 Lexus IS 250

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.

[Source: IIHS & Automotive News)]


  1. this sucks..well we may not match up with Volvo but lexus should def should make some changes. 
    • those are old cars that are being remodel the IS came out in 05 the ES 06 not to mention that these car was design in the early 2000s and not to mention these cars over met their standards that the IIHS had already met even more than the 3 Series and the TL and the TL models years are from 10 and the 3 Series 2012 Volvo am not sure
    • ES 350 http://www.iihs.org/ratings/ratingsbyseries.aspx?id=581 IS 250/350 http://www.iihs.org/ratings/ratingsbyseries.aspx?id=560
  2. The problem with the timing of this unannounced testing change is Lexus has already redesigned the ES, LS, and the IS is probably too far along to change to comply. Mercedes just put out a statement, after the C-Class failed miserably in the new test, bashing IIHS, and basically saying we're Mercedes and you're not...... BD
  3. I think this is good for Lexus and Toyota they are revising their lineup and it will be an even safer car companies... while this test is a good test it isn't fair towards manufactures as yet because it is new manufactures had a standard to meet already and both these car had over meet those standard even I completely agree with everything Toyota said that it isn't a one size fits all and it is too early to make claims I think IIHS did went a little overboard on the results of these new test but I like it not to mention these are Lexus that was design from the early 04 and the ES is being replace as we speak and the IS is probably due out next year so this I think is a wake up call for all Manu on safely to an already super safe company remember side and knee airbags are offers on new models the first company to offer such things....
  4. ya i am sure that new generation of Lexus/Toyota will have (hope) better safety to match up with new IIHS crash test. But the scary part is what about those cars that are already on road now. Consumers will now have to think twice before buying a used Lexus, ( even tho it might be a small percentage)
  5. IIHS has to take a hit here, saying this new test, not their current test, accounts for 25% of crashes.  So why didn't they do this test when they updated their testing in 1995? So they have been doing the wrong type of offset crash testing over the last 15 years?   BD
  6. Ray

    When it comes to safety, Volvo is the best. Toyota should have acquired Volvo from Ford, now the chinese automaker has it. Hard to imagine, down the road, chinese cars will excel jap cars in term of safety. Lexus should review and make big changes in its crash test program, make them closer to real world crash. Don't just ace good ratings from current standard, go beyond the standard. Volvo had started to test their cars using small overlap frontal crash instead of 50 percent frontal crash since the 80's until now. That's what I call go beyond the norm. Lexus should persuit for higher safety standard. This publicity looks bad for Lexus. Toyota should not be defensive in responding to this results, don't bash the crash test agency like merc. Do serious changes! If you see the IS crash pix, that's some scary scenes. Lexus knee airbag provide little effect vs Volvo which do not provide knee airbag. In short, Volvo structure still in shape after crash while Lexus structure deform. Sad and scary, since the cars that I am driving are all Toyotas and Lexus. Last but not least, roof strength is crusial as well in rollover test. Again, Volvo XC90 does excellent job. After all, safety is the most important. Hope Toyota will apply kaizen ( continous improvement) in this area. Until that is achieve, Lexus slogan persuit in perfection has a well rounded meaning not just in luxury, product quality, customer satisfaction but also in safety. That's my 2 cents.
    • Toyota only has the most Top Safety Picks in the business, so they obviously know very little about making safe cars..... BD
    • Ray

      I am not suggesting Toyota has no knowlegde at all in car safety. I do know that they have Crash test facility that recently features TCrown and TYaris crash test (to prove that hatchback Yaris is safe even when it hits midsize sedan). And also they have collection of dummies that represent different type of body size including pregnant women. And this year, they increase their number of sensor points for their virtual cras test so that they can reduce further damages in internal organs during crash tests. Last but not least Toyota also built world class driving stimulator. Well, they have done lots and lots of research. In fact, at one point, Toyota has the largest amount of money for R&D among automakers. My point: any publicity like this is bad publicity. Recall issue, although Nasa agreed it is not Toyota fault, it still do lot of damages to its reputation. This may be another issue that can tarnish Lexus perfect reputation. And we don't want that to happen.
    • I wouldn't blow this out of proportion.  Mercedes and Audi failed this test too, and Mercedes doesn't even seem to care that they failed.  they'd rather blame IIHS! Unless your name is Volvo, I would expect many more stories, just like this one, for pretty much every car maker for the next 3-4 years, until the cars are redesigned around this. BD
    • I don't think they was being defensive they was being realistic it isn't a one size fits all not every car is car in the exact same way all the time and that was there point they didn't say there car is the best and all that they accept it and said they would do better and that this test raises the standards ... look at the link I posted and you will see that every ES and IS scored a Good and one Acceptable on the Roll over test the XC90 is an SUV that's like a standard test or all SUV to pass because they are more likely to be roll over ... I admire your opinion but I think there are many facts that you over look... this was  only test any Lexus ever failed that doesn't make it unsafe it if anything with the new cars from Lexus coming out it make them even safer
    • F1

      You should watch the Volvo, it actually almost flipped over!
    • That's one of the issues on this test - there is so little metal to absorb the impact that you end up with a high speed impact into the passenger frame, looks like if it stays sturdy the energy forces the car up compared to those where the frame bends. Still must be safer to flip up in the air I suppose than compromise the passenger cell. 
    • My parents had a Volvo. I had an old old Peugeot. While following me on the way to my grandparents house my father crashed into the back of my Peugeot with the Volvo. his excuse, he thought I was going to run the red light, for which I stopped. Score, granny and I in Peugeot, no problem, all 4 doors opened, even the boot opened and closed. Volvo front doors stuck shut, dash cracked in the Volvo, extensive damage even though the Volvo was much newer and "safer". Explain that.
    • A lot of French cars actually have a reputation for safety in Europe and in places like South America or Africa, notably the brands Renault and Peugeot. I remember how in the '70s a Peugeot was one of the most solid and safe cars one could buy for little money in Europe.
  7. maybe it is time for Lexus to infuse some carbon fiber in there cars now
  8. It doesn't matter whether the poor results for Lexus vehicles or any other makers' are "fair" or not and it's irrelevant how late in the life-cycle these tests were done. The test was conducted based on cars consumers can buy today and the results are what they are. In reality, if you're in a small overlap frontal crash in an IS or ES, or any of the other cars that did poorly, you have a higher chance of serious injury. If you were in a crash like the test and suffered injuries you won't go "well that's okay because my 2012 IS/ES was last redesigned in 2005/6". At the end of the day, the test results are clear and objective.
  9. 2012 Audi A4 & 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a pretty new car (newer than 2012 Lexus ES & IS) , it's also failed the test ... Volvo is expected to do good because they spent lots of time on design a good chassis to face different sort of crash (I remember themselve also did some crash test that involved fender collision , as they have a good test facilities) . I'm just hope , 2013 ES & 2014 IS can do better .
  10. and the moral of the story? crash head on or dont crash at all :-)
  11. by the way, the IS is already testing camo'd up in torrance.  so its too late to change.
  12. It’s been a few hours since posting this story, and I just added a couple points to the original article: * This was the first time that the IIHS has released results for this new crash test, and 72% of the vehicles involved failed to addprotect the crash dummy. * 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.
    • Looks like they had too many Top Safety Picks, and are looking to whittle that number down. Toyota has been the #1 brand in that with 11 different vehicles. There are currently 124 Top Safety Picks today.  I expect that number to drop by about 100..... BD
    • I'll be interest to see result on Renault if possible & Saab if they still alive ... of course I wanted to see some Toyota did on this test .
  13. IIHS should have announced this kind of test some years ago so that new cars can be manufactured to this standard and start testing from those cars onwards. This test is not fair to lexus, merc and Audi and those who performed better were lucky. Toyota have very safe cars, i know of a owner that crashed his IS250 and he said he didn't feel a thing. mybe that volvo is too stiff which might not be a good thing. what we see in video is not the full story
  14. funny how the volvo almost rolls. why? stiffness, no dicipating energy. To IIHS if you gonna test old cars like the IS at least state its age for the viewer. This is a volvo promotion. they quickly thought of weaknesses of other cars and crashed them and posted videos on youtube. it clear these manufactures got caught of guard