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Saab 9-3 is First Car Named “Double Best Pick” in IIHS Crash Tests

October 12, 2004

The Saab 9 3 Sport Sedan earned “Double Best Pick” designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the first passenger car to achieve this distinction. Following the most recent series of 31-mph side-impact crash tests, the 2004 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan earned a “Best Pick – side” honor. This rating is in addition to last year’s 40-mph frontal offset crash tests in which the 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan earned the Institute’s “Best Pick – frontal” ranking. Eight mid-size cars were crashed in the latest round of IIHS side-impact testing. The Saab 9-3 is the only mid-size car yet to earn a “Best Pick” in the test. This result was achieved with standard equipment only. Among the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan’s standard safety features are adaptive, dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags engineered into the front seats, seat belts featuring crash pre-tensioners and load limiters, and Saab’s “second generation” Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR 2). In the event of a rear-end collision, the SAHR system is designed to limit the head movement of the occupant during the impact, helping to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries. In addition to the seat-mounted side-impact airbags, the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan also features side-curtain airbags that deploy from the ceiling, offering protection to front and rear occupants. The side-curtain airbags are activated in side impacts and also in severe frontal impacts, when stage 2 activation of the front airbags is deployed. The side-curtain airbags remain inflated for up to three seconds in order to help prevent a passenger’s head from striking the side windows, roof pillars or exterior objects during the course of an impact sequence. This added protection is especially effective during an offset frontal crash, as the IIHS test duplicates, when the vehicle rotates after the collision. The Institute rates vehicles on how well they protect occupants in front and side crashes, assigning each vehicle a rating of good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. The better performers among the good vehicles in each test are designated "Best Picks," while vehicles that earn "Best Pick" designations in both tests are "Double Best Picks." In the Institute's side-impact test, a moving deformable barrier strikes the vehicle’s driver side at 31 mph. The 3,300-lb. barrier is shaped to simulate the front of a typical pickup or SUV. Each side-struck vehicle contains two instrumented dummies with the size of a short (5th percentile) female. One crash-test dummy is positioned in the driver’s seat, and one is in the rear seat behind the driver. In the IIHS frontal offset test, a vehicle strikes a deformable barrier at 40 mph. The vehicle is offset so that only 40 percent of the front end strikes the barrier on the driver’s side. Injury measures are taken from a dummy representing an average-size male (50th percentile) positioned in the driver’s seat.
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