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Friday, August 5, 2022

Subaru Outback Is The Only Mid-Sized Car To Ace New, Tougher Side-Impact Test


After testing compact SUVs, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) now started testing mid-sized cars using their new, tougher side-impact test requirement. And guess what: only three out of seven vehicles tested earned a “good” or “acceptable” rating, and only one managed a “good” score.

As with the original test, the new test represents the type of crash that occurs when two crossing vehicles collide in an intersection. The updated evaluation uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. Approximating the weight of most modern mid-size SUVs, the new barrier weighs 4,200 pounds (1,905 kilograms), up 900 pounds (408 kilograms) from the earlier test. The impact speed increased from 31 (50 km/h) to 37 MPH (60 km/h).

Together, those changes mean the crash produces 82 percent more energy. Additional updates to the test include an updated barrier striking surface that performs more like today’s SUVs or pickups when striking the side of another vehicle. As with the previous test, the new test uses two SID-IIs dummies in the driver seat and in the rear seat behind the driver. The SID-IIs represents a small woman or 12-year-old child.

For now, the updated test is not included in the IIHS award criteria. However, starting in 2023, a good or acceptable rating will be required for the lower-tier TOP SAFETY PICK award and a good rating will be needed for the higher-tier TOP SAFETY PICK+.

The Subaru Outback is the only midsize car to earn a good rating. With somewhat higher levels of occupant compartment intrusion, the Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta manage acceptable ratings.

The head-protecting airbags for the driver and rear passenger performed well in the Outback, Sonata, and Jetta, contributing to a low risk of head and neck injuries for occupants in both seating positions. However, injury measures were somewhat elevated for the driver’s pelvis and rear passenger’s torso in the Jetta and the rear passenger’s pelvis in the Sonata.

The Honda Accord earns a marginal rating, and the Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry earn poor ratings.

There was moderate intrusion of the B-pillar into the occupant compartment of the Accord. Injury measures for the driver’s pelvis were somewhat elevated, and the driver’s head moved downward past the side curtain airbag to contact the windowsill during the crash.

The Altima and Malibu showed substantial intrusion into the occupant compartment, but the safety cage of the Camry held up well. Injury measures indicated a high risk of torso and pelvis injuries for the driver in the Altima, a moderate risk of torso and pelvis injuries for the driver and high risk of pelvis injuries for the rear passenger in the Camry, and a high risk of head or neck injuries for the driver in the Malibu. In all three vehicles, the heads of either the driver or rear passenger dummy or both slipped below the side curtain airbag to contact the windowsill.

IIHS developed the updated side crash test after research showed that many of the real-world side impacts that still account for nearly a quarter of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities are more severe than the original evaluation.

All seven of these vehicles earn good ratings in the original side test.

2 comments:

  1. One extra advantage of the Outback's height - crazy SUV drivers will less likely kill you! The impact seems to hit the side impact beams perfectly, while with the other midsize cars, the impact was above the side impact beams. Seems like this new IIHS test will further encourage buyers to get SUVs instead of sedans. Sad, RIP sedans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's an obvious unfair advantage against the other midsize sedans, IIHS should have tested the Legacy instead, that levels the playing field.

      Delete

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