By Jeff Gilbert

ARLINGTON, VA — (WWJ) Some surprising results in a new round of crash tests. Mass market mid-size cars outperformed luxury vehicles.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the best protection,” says Adrian Lund, President and CEO of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “This is the surprising result from these tests. Because, we actually tested the luxury car group first, because we thought they would do better.”

LINK — Insurance Institute Press Release

The new “small overlap test” tries to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or a telephone poll.

Interview: Jeff Gilbert talks with Insurance Institute for Highway Safety President Adrian Lund.

Earlier this year, just 3 of 11 luxury cars earned good or acceptable ratings in the first test of this type. When they tried 18 mass market mid size cars, the results were much better. Two earned the top rating of good, 11 were acceptable, three were marginal and two were poor.

LINK — Crash Test Summary

“Even though they are priced much lower, they did better in this test than their luxury counterparts,” said Lund.

A number of all new vehicles–including the Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord did well in the test. The best selling car in America did not.

“The Camry was a disappointment, as was the new Prius V.” said Lund. “Both of these vehicle had very bad structural performance, large intrusions into the occupant compartment, wheels shoved back into the leg space, things like that.”

Toyota points out that while the Prius V has not received any official government crash test ratings yet, the Camry was given five stars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) periodically develops new, more severe or specialized tests which go beyond federal requirements,” read a statement from Toyota. “With this new test, the Institute has raised the bar again and we will respond to the challenge. We are evaluating the new test protocols and can say that there will not be one single solution to achieve greater crash performance in this area.”

With the new test, the Insurance Institute has added a new category of vehicles that are the “best of the best” on its crash tests. Thirteen vehicles have been given the designation of “Top Safety Pick+”. There are 117 additional vehicles listed as “Top Safety Pick” by the Institute.

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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