Luxury cars fail new tougher crash test
Every year cars do better and better in crash tests, but a tough new test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has caused problems for many of luxury and near-luxury automakers.
Eight out of 11 cars tested failed the new crash test. The test is designed to mimic the most dangerous sort of frontal crash. This happens when a car hits another car or object with only a small portion of its front bumper. It is also known as the “small overlap” impact.
All new cars have earned good ratings from the IIHS’ crash tests in recent years, but there are still over 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year.
The new crash test is conducted by having the vehicle travel at 40 miles per hour and hit a barrier with just a quarter of the driver’s side bumper. The impact force is then concentrated on a small area causing the vehicle to spin.
“Small overlap” impacts cause about a quarter of the serious and fatal injuries seen each year. These crashes can also cause severe foot and leg injuries as the car’s front wheel is pushed back into passenger compartment.
These kinds of accidents are dangerous because the smaller impact area makes it harder for the car’s steel structures to spread impact forces around the driver. When the car spins it also makes it harder for the car’s airbags to protect passengers from hitting parts of the car’s interior.
The current impact test uses 40 percent of the front bumper and will still be used along with the new test.
The cars that passed the test with the top result of “good” were Honda’s Acura TL and Volvo S60. Nissan’s Infiniti G earned a rating of “acceptable,” and The Acura TSX, BMW 3-series Ford’s Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC earned a rating of “marginal.”
The Mercedes-Benz C-class, Lexus IS and ES and the Audi A4 earned the worst rating, “poor,” in the new test.
Although most automakers cars have passed previous tests, they are now working with the new test to make cars safer for drivers and passengers.