Crash tests show automakers made strides in passenger safety

Crash tests show automakers made strides in passenger safetyā€¯

To earn the 2017 Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must have good ratings in all five IIHS crashworthiness tests - small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints - and an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. In both cars, the passenger dummy's head slid off the front airbag and contacted the dash.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which issues ratings for each car's safety, will add a new test to its routine. In the test of the Outback, the passenger's side was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of four inches at the right edge of the toepan. The forward collision warning system included with the Compass satisfied the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's criteria. "All of the structures we tested were greatly improved compared to the structures of small SUVs tested previous year".

"We have 10 vehicles getting our good rating, 1 acceptable and 2 with marginal ratings", said Becky Muller, a Senior Research Engineer for the IIHS.

Cars will have to pass this new test to get the coveted top safety pick award from the organization. The changes have paid off: Among 2017 models, two-thirds earn a good rating.

To earn this award, the Compass dazzled the IIHS with the front crash prevention system, which allowed it to avoid collisions in the track tests when traveling 15 and 25 miles per hour. One of the top performers was the Subaru Outback, with its good rating also applying to the Subaru Legacy. The safety belt and front and side curtain airbags all worked in concert to keep the crash dummy in place, and measurements showed a low risk of injury in a comparable real-world crash.

Mueller added that those two with marginal ratings from the Volkswagen Passat and Chevy Malibu were because of insufficient airbag protection.

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