The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has developed a new crash test to evaluate front passenger protection during small overlap front crashes, and 10 out of the 13 mid-size cars that have already completed the test drew top scores, IIHS said.
Vehicles must draw a rating of “good” or “acceptable” in this passenger-side test to qualify for the institute’s 2018 Top Safety Pick+ award.
Cars earning the top overall score of “good” in the initial round of passenger-side small overlap front tests include the 2017 Ford Fusion, 2017 Honda Accord, 2017 Lincoln MKZ, 2018 Subaru Legacy, 2018 Subaru Outback, 2017 Hyundai Sonata, 2017 Mazda Mazda6, 2017 Nissan Altima, 2017 Nissan Maxima and 2018 Toyota Camry.
The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta drew a score of “acceptable,” while the 2017 Volkswagen Passat and Chevrolet Malibu each garnered a score of “marginal.”
“The midsize cars we tested didn’t have any glaring structural deficiencies on the right side,” said Becky Mueller, IIHS senior research engineer. “Optimizing air bags and safety belts to provide better head protection for front-seat passengers appears to be the most urgent task now.”
During the test, a vehicle is driven into a barrier at 40 mph with just 25% of the vehicle’s front end overlapping the barrier on the right side. The test mimics what happens when the front passenger-side corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or with an obstacle such as a tree or utility pole.
To watch a video about the new crash test, click on the photo or link below the headline.