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Hyundai Sonata, Tucson Draw Top Safety Scores

September 24, 2015

VIDEO: Hyundai Tucson Aces Crash Tests 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named the 2016 model-year Hyundai Sonata mid-size sedan and Tucson compact SUV winners of the Top Safety Pick+ award.

To qualify for the award, the Hyundai Sonata earned a “superior” front crash prevention rating, an “acceptable” rating for the small overlap front test, and “good” ratings for the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints/seats evaluations.

The Sonata was redesigned for the 2015 model year. For 2016, Hyundai made changes to the driver’s safety belt and the front suspension in hopes of improving the small overlap rating from “acceptable” to “good.” Those changes weren't enough, IIHS said, and the rating remains “acceptable.” However, the vehicle excelled in the other crashworthiness tests.

Thanks to a redesign for 2016, the Hyundai Tucson dramatically improved its score – from “poor” to “good” – in the demanding small overlap front crash test. (To watch footage of the test, click on the photo or link below the headline.) With an available front crash prevention system that earned a “superior” rating, the Tucson also qualifies for the Top Safety Pick+ award, IIHS said.

“In the Tucson's small overlap test, the driver’s space was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of 6 inches at the parking brake pedal, but no more than 3 inches at other locations,” IIHS said. “The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and the front and side curtain airbags worked well together to protect the head. Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.”

In contrast, when the previous generation of the Tucson underwent the same test, the intrusion was severe, reaching a maximum of 16 inches at the parking brake pedal, IIHS noted. 

Like its predecessor, the redesigned Tucson earned “good” ratings in the institute's other crashworthiness tests – moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints/seats.

Both the 2016 Sonata and the 2016 Tucson have an available front crash prevention system that includes automatic braking. The vehicles avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph. The optional package also includes forward collision warning that meets criteria set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That gives the vehicles the maximum six points for a “superior” front crash prevention rating, IIHS said.

To qualify for the 2015 Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn “good” ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, plus a “good” or “acceptable” rating in the small overlap test. For Top Safety Pick+, vehicles also need an available front crash prevention system with an “advanced” or “superior” rating.

IIHS plans to raise the bar in 2016, requiring a “good” small overlap rating for either award. Vehicles with an “acceptable” rating, such as the Sonata, will need further improvements to qualify for 2016 honors, IIHS said.

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