Honda, Suzuki take top marks in offset crash
Thirteen of 18 new mid-sized cars earned "good" or "acceptable" ratings in a U.S. insurance regulator's latest crash tests, compared to three of 11 luxury cars.
The Suzuki Kizashi and four-door Honda Accord came out on top with "good" ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) latest round of tests.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Toyota Camry sedan and Prius v hybrid earned a "poor" rating in the new small overlap tests, Automotive News reports.
In this IIHS new test, a vehicle is lined up so that 25 percent of it – a front corner – overlaps with a barrier during a frontal, 40-mph (64 km/h) collision. The test mimics hitting a tree or pole at speed.
"The crash caused significant intrusion into the occupant compartment" for the pair of Toyotas, Automotive News explains the failing grade. "The driver-side airbags also failed to fully prevent a blow to the test dummy's head in both crashes."
The Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Jetta joined Toyota near the bottom of the list with "marginal" test results.
"With this new test, the Institute has raised the bar again and we will respond to the challenge," a Toyota spokesperson said.
He pointed out despite shortcomings in this particular test, 19 Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles from the 2012 model year, including the Camry and Prius v, still carry an IIHS "Top Safety Pick" rating.
Only three of 11 luxury vehicles tested earned a "good" or "acceptable" small overlap collision rating from the IIHS this summer.
"Normally we see new technology and new innovations go into the luxury cars first, so we see them doing better," IIHS president Adrian Lund told Automotive News. "This [mid-size sedans performing better] is a bit of a surprise."
Mercedes-Benz's C-Class earned a "poor" rating when put through the new-to-the-industry test; they complained the small overlap crash test goes too far.