Cars Pass IIHS' New Passenger-Side Crash Test

Lloyd Doyle
October 19, 2017

One year after a crash test raised questions about the safety provided to passengers in the front seat of small SUVs, a new set of tests paints a more encouraging picture.

This latest feather in a Top Safety Pick Plus award recipient's cap will indicate that the auto earned an acceptable or good score for its ability to withstand a collision in which the passenger-side corner strikes, for example, a tree or utility pole.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which issues ratings for each car's safety, will add a new test to its routine. Automakers starting in 2018 will have another challenge to face in the crash-test contest: the passenger-side small overlap front test. A Compass equipped with the system avoided collisions in the 12 miles per hour and 25 miles per hour IIHS track tests. "All of the structures we tested were greatly improved compared to the structures of small SUVs tested previous year".

"We're excited by the results", said Becky Mueller, senior research engineer for IIHS.


The IIHS says passing this new passenger side crash test will be mandatory for any carmaker hoping to get a top safety pick plus rating this year.

To start, 13 vehicles underwent the passenger-side small overlap front test, with ten out of the 13 earning a good rating. The safety belt and front and side curtain airbags worked together to keep the dummy in place, with IIHS saying measures taken from the dummy show there would be a low risk of injury in a similar real-world crash.

The two vehicles earning a marginal rating are the Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat.

"The restraint system didn't do a good job of protecting the dummy's head from contacting the dash".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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