Of the 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars which took the Institute for Highway Safety’s new small overlap frontal crash test, only 3 earned good or acceptable ratings.
The test simulates a crash during which only a small portion of the front bumper makes contact with another car, a tree or a barrier for example, often the most dangerous type of crash.
The Acura TL and Volvo S60 earned good ratings, the Infiniti G acceptable, and the Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC just marginal ratings. The Mercedes C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 all received poor ratings.
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All of the cars tested were 2012 models, with each striking a 5-foot tall rigid barrier at 40mph with 25 percent of the driver side front end and Hybrid III dummy belted in the driver seat.
Institute President, Adrian Lund explained the tests development:
“Nearly every car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year. Small overlap crashes are a major source of these fatalities.
This new test program is based on years of analysing real-world frontal crashes and replicating them in our crash test facility to determine how people are being seriously injured and how cars can be designed to protect them better. We think this is the next step in improving frontal crash protection.”
Responding to the new findings, Mercedes were steadfast in defending its C-Class, stating:
“As a leader in automotive safety, we have full confidence in the protection that C-Class affords its occupants – and less confidence in any test that doesn’t reflect that.”
Toyota Motor Corporation, which owns Lexus, were more accepting:
“With this new test, the Institute has raised the bar again and we will respond to this challenge as we design new vehicles.”
The findings are displayed in a table, which can be found here