The Volvo S60 is the only UK-sold compact exec to score well in new American crash tests
23 August 2012

A new ‘small overlap frontal crash test’, introduced by the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has tarnished the safety credentials of many small executive cars. Designed to replicate an impact with a tree or pylon, the test subjects the car to a 40mph impact with a 1.5-metre tall rigid barrier.

So far, the only car available in the UK that has earned a ‘good’ rating is the Volvo S60. The Infiniti G-Series achieved an ‘acceptable’ score whilst popular models such as the BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS, Audi A4, Volkswagen CC and Mercedes C-Class scored only a ‘marginal’ or ‘poor’ result.

The test has been introduced as more than 10,000 deaths occur in the US in frontal crashes every year, despite the vast majority of new cars passing the regular frontal tests. The most recent study states that small overlap crashes account for just under a quarter of vehicle crashes in the US. President of the Institute for Highway Safety Adrian Lund has said the test is based on many years of analysis, and could be “the next step in improving frontal crash protection”.

The likely reason for so many poor performances in this test is that it avoids crumple zones, impacting the car’s outer edges. Many cars tested suffered extreme footwell intrusion as the suspension, wheel and firewall were all pushed inwards.

The NHTSA hopes this new set of ratings will ensure manufacturers no longer simply focus on performing well in their standard full-width frontal and moderate overlap tests.

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Comments
7

23 August 2012

Interesting decision to adopt more 'real-world' crash test scenarios. Naturally, few crashes are ever the same, but it has always worried me that car manufacturers have focused harderst on making their cars safe in existing crash test scenarios in order to acquire those marketing-friendly results.

Despite the poor results for a number of cars, it's encouraging that Volvo performed well, which shows it can be done...

23 August 2012

Excellent news that Volvo dont design their cars to pass test, but to do well in the real world, but rather sad that all the others appear to make cars just for the tests.

Hopefully this new standard will be adopted in Europe too now  

23 August 2012

After debating this with my brother for a number of weeks, I will now ask him for the £10 he owes me. Well done Volvo, keep up the good work.

Great news but hardly surprising. 

23 August 2012

I suppose if cars are all designed with one specific set of tests in mind, that other areas may be overlooked.

We often see footage of cars being hurled into concrete blocks or subject to side impacts, what I've never seen is a simulated rear impact. Quite a few of the smaller 7 seaters place the rear occupents heads incredibly close to the rear window. I wonder what the survivability is like if one of those is rear ended by a lorry or large van.

 

23 August 2012

I had the unfortunate task once of driving past an accident where a lorry had hit a car in the rear and when it  all came out I think they said the lorry was still travelling at 40mph when the impact happened....its many years ago now but there was not a lot of car to be seen and no-one survived. Its not something I looked at in detail and not one I would care to remember, but at the quick glance I took the whole passenger shell was gone.

23 August 2012

I belive Volvo is still one of the only if not the only car manufacturer that actually car out genuine crash scene investigation that involve its cars, hence the reason they usually perform well in real world accidents, its one thing to perform well for NCap, its a different thing  to perform for your customers. I wonder how well American cars performed..

 

23 August 2012

This all sounds like yet more pro American legislation. Generally, american cars are larger and possibly offer more space to accomodate the impact of such tests. It is a bit like the twin headlight legislation that was introduced which destroyed the looks of many European products, wgile most us cars already had this lighting setup. I really mdo question the integrity if Domestic us products compared to the finely honed European offerings. I am sure a Megane is just as safe as a Lincoln. 

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