Tag Archives: IIHS

2014 Mercedes S550, 3M Paint Defender, Toyota RAV4 Crash Tested: Car News Headlines

We drove the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the 2013 Toyota RAV4 did poorly in the IIHS’ small overlap crash test. Datsun revealed its new subcompact car for the Indian market, and the Dodge brand might become more focused in the future. All this and more in today’s car news, right here on The Car Connection. Fiat debuted a new advertisement… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Study: IIHS calls out big rigs for dangerous rear underride guards [w/video]

By Jeffrey N. Ross

2010 Chevrolet Malibu in IIHS big rig underrider crash test - video screencap

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is always looking for new ways to make America’s highways safer, and this latest test checks out the crashworthiness of one of the most overlooked vehicles on the road: tractor trailers. Pointing out design flaws inherent in semi trailers during rear-end collisions, the IIHS performed three different tests on eight of the most popular semi trailers on the market including a full-width impact, a 50-percent overlap (where only half of the car makes contact with the trailer) and a narrower overlap where only 30 percent of the car hits the trailer.

In the tests, which were run at 35 miles per hour using a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu, all of the trailers safely prevented the vehicle from underriding – going underneath the trailer – during the full-width crash. Compared to the results from this same test just two years ago, it’s a big improvement in safety. In the 50-percent test, only one of the trailer’s underride guards failed allowing the rear edge of the trailer to impact the passenger compartment, which would have most likely killed the driver. In the 30 percent overlap test, only one trailer managed to prevent the crash car from going under the trailer. The safest trailer, produced by a company called Manac, had the underride guard beams pushed out to the edges of the trailer providing additional strength and support. All of the trailers passed US and Canadian crash standards.

Scroll down for the crash-test video as well as a press release from IIHS.

Continue reading IIHS calls out big rigs for dangerous rear underride guards [w/video]

IIHS calls out big rigs for dangerous rear underride guards [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

IIHS: Today's "Mansfield Bars" Don't Work So Well (Video)

In the wee hours of June 29, 1967, Jayne Mansfield was being driven to New Orleans in a 1966 Buick Electra. She was sitting up front with her driver and her lover, while her children (including actress-to-be Mariska Hargitay) slept in the back seat. Around 2:30am, Mansfield’s car slammed into the back of a big rig. The collision forced the Buick… …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Official: Five vehicles named Top Safety Pick+ including new Civic, MKZ

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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In an attempt to help push vehicle safety to a higher level, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety created a stricter Top Safety Pick+ rating last year, which incorporates a brutal small overlap test and requires cars to get Good ratings in four out of the five categories (and no less than Acceptable in the fifth). Joining the list of the safest cars of 2013, the 2013 Volvo XC60, Lincoln MKZ, Honda Civic (sedan and coupe) and the 2014 Mazda6 have all received the coveted TSP+ rating.

The Mazda6 and Lincoln MKZ have both been completely redesigned, and both received Acceptable ratings in the small overlap test. The Honda Civic, coming off its emergency refresh for 2013, is the first small car to be subjected to the small overlap test, and IIHS says that one of the car’s many upgrades includes a stiffer front structure allowing it to receive Good ratings in all categories. Similarly, the XC60 gets all Good ratings thanks to, according to IIHS, Volvo updating the airbag software allowing the side airbags to inflate during the small overlap test.

The 2014 Subaru Forester has not yet been subjected to the small overlap test, so it must make do with just a Top Safety Pick rating until the IIHS tests small utility vehicles, which is expected to happen later in the spring.

Continue reading Five vehicles named Top Safety Pick+ including new Civic, MKZ

Five vehicles named Top Safety Pick+ including new Civic, MKZ originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 08 Mar 2013 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Fiat 500 least safe vehicle to drive according to insurance website [w/video]

By Chris Tutor

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Fiat 500 crash test

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashed a 2012 Fiat 500, the little car got the best scores in all categories. It’s a safe car, then, right?

“If safety is a priority, you should avoid the smallest cars,” advises Russ Rader, spokesperson for IIHS. “Weight counts. Smaller, lighter cars are safer than they used to be, but all things being equal, people riding in bigger, heavier vehicles get more protection in crashes.”

That’s why, despite its near-perfect crash-test score, the Fiat 500 is No. 1 on Insure.com‘s list of worst vehicles for protecting passengers from injuries. In an accident with a larger object, the Fiat’s safety cage and array of air bags do what they can to protect passenges, but like eggs in a coffee can, the passengers get thrown about and smashed up.

If the Fiat 500 is like a coffee can, then a fullsize GMC pickup (which tops the website’s list of vehicles best at protecting passengers) would be a 50-gallon barrel. In a collision between the two, the barrel of eggs will win every time. The GMC Sierra 1500 is rated best at protecting passengers by Insure.com, but IIHS rated it just average in the side impact test and marginal in the roof strength test. Second place on Insure.com’s best list is the Porsche Cayenne, which has not been tested by IIHS. The third through fifth place spots go to the GMC Yukon, Sierra 2500 and Terrain.

The listings are the result of Insure.com’s analysis of personal injury protection and medical payment claims which affect what car owners are charged for insurance.

Check out videos of the IIHS crash test of the Fiat 500 as well as the 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 below.

Continue reading Fiat 500 least safe vehicle to drive according to insurance website [w/video]

Fiat 500 least safe vehicle to drive according to insurance website [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Jan 2013 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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IIHS: Red-Light Cameras Improve Safety, Reduce Collisions

Traffic cameras cause a lot of controversy. Some folks appreciate the way that the mere presence of a camera can make motorists drive more cautiously. Others see them as a scam foisted on the public by for-profit companies, working in cahoots with local police departments. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just conducted a…
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Report: NHTSA mulling adding small-overlap and angled crash tests

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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2012 Buick Verano NHTSA crash test - front three-quarter view, post test

For the sake of safer cars, it sounds like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could be moving to create stricter crash tests that are similar to (and potentially even more rigorous) than what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently instituted. In an interview with Automotive News, chief NHTSA administrator David Strickland said that the agency is looking into adding a new offset test as well as an angled impact test.

A small overlap test just recently became a part of the barrage of crash tests performed by IIHS where only 25-percent of the vehicle tested makes contact with a barrier, and Strickland said this is “very similar” to the test being considered by NHTSA. The government agency’s current frontal crash tests, as shown above with the five-star-rated Buick Verano, consists of the car hitting a wall head-on, so it isn’t clear how much overlap would be considered small for this new test. Another new scenario being investigated is called the oblique test, which involves the test subject hitting a barrier at a fixed angle rather than straight on. Neither test figures to be in use for at least the next couple years or so, but they would undoubtedly make it much harder for cars to receive a five-star crash rating.

NHTSA mulling adding small-overlap and angled crash tests originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mazda3, CX-5 earn IIHS Top Safety Picks

By Jonathon Ramsey

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Mazda technologies like SkyActiv-Body and SkyActiv-Chassis, plus ultra-high-tensile steel, six airbags, “crusable” brake and accelerator pedal assembly and collapsible steering column have helped the 2013 Mazda3 and 2014 Mazda CX-5 win Top Safety Pick laurels from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s the second year in a row for the Mazda3.

The accolade is earned by receiving “Good” marks for frontal moderate overlap crashes, side and rear impact crashes, and tests of roof strength. Remember, the small overlap test that the IIHS commenced in August 2012 has lately tripped up some makers who have excellent safety reputations.

The Mazda3 and CX-5 join offerings like the Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Subaru Forester among the 117 vehicles so far declared Top Safety Picks – which is different than the 13 named Top Safety Picks+, mind you – for this year. Have a read of the press release below for more information.

Continue reading Mazda3, CX-5 earn IIHS Top Safety Picks

Mazda3, CX-5 earn IIHS Top Safety Picks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Jan 2013 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 Smart ForTwo “Tough” Commercial: What You See Is What You Get, Sort Of [The Ad Section]

By Don Klein

2013 Smart ForTwo “Tough” Commercial: What You See Is What You Get, Sort Of [The Ad Section]

Award-winning ad man-cum-auto journalist Don Klein knows a good (or bad) car commercial when he sees one; the Ad Section is his space to tell you what he thinks of the latest spots. The ad’s rating is depicted via the shift pattern at the bottom, but everyone has an opinion when it comes to advertising, so hit Backfires below and tell us what you think, too.

Welcome to the strange and wonderful world of TV commercial demos, wherein advertisers use impressive “visual proof” to dramatically showcase their products’ superiority. But be forewarned—what you see isn’t always exactly what you get. Because even though product demos are subject to FTC approval, what happens under contrived conditions doesn’t always replicate the real world, which might explain why demos are so often used in infomercials.

Against that background, let’s look at Smart’s new ForTwo commercial. We open on what appears to be a parked ForTwo with a giant Ford Excursion on its roof. But when the little car drives away, we see that in fact the multi-ton SUV is perched atop a Smart Tridion safety cell, which, we are told, “can withstand over three and a half tons.” Even with the sound turned off we would get the message: Smart is small in size, big on safety.

So what’s misleading about that? Strictly speaking, nothing. They really did lower an Excursion onto a Tridion cell. True, it was a specially rigged Tridion cell, but it points that out in type across the bottom. You noticed that, right? Of course, the demo doesn’t prove that Smarts are safe, but it certainly does leave that impression, just as a four-pound brick spanning a 12-ounce drinking tumbler might leave the impression that the glass is strong. But drop the brick on the tumbler—or the Excursion on the Smart—and the result likely will be different, especially if you don’t use a weight distribution platform like the one in the commercial and factor in things that happen in real accidents, like speed and motion. Although I’m not a physicist, I’ve got to believe that three-plus tons of mass randomly plunked down on suspension and tires designed to support an 1800-pound car is going to cause some serious damage, even if the cute little critter is parked at the time of impact. And if I’m wrong, at least it would be a demo to remember, right?

But like most TV commercial demos, this one is more about general perception than strict reality. Will anyone seeing this commercial think you can really tote a giant SUV around town on a Smart’s roof? Of course not. All Smart wants us to get from this spot is that its cars are safe. So are they? In the IIHS’s 2013 ratings, Smart earned top marks in every test it was subjected to, and the body’s construction probably had a lot to do with that, although in fairness, the 2013 versions of the Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Nissan Versa sedan, and Toyota Yaris hatchback all earned the same top rollover rating (the test that measures roof strength) without having “the world’s only Tridion safety cell.” But that still doesn’t make the ForTwo spot misleading: It never said Smart is making the only safe microcar.

Given the rules of engagement that apply to demos, I think this commercial does a good job. The FTC doesn’t require safety demos to literally replicate real-world accidents, and unlike the infamous Volvo “Bigfoot” commercial of 1990 where the roof of a 240 wagon was bolstered to avoid being crushed, this commercial didn’t cheat to make the honest point that Smarts have strong bodies. It’s merely a dramatic presentation of a true product attribute. It’s up to you to decide its relevance.



3rd GearAnother thing this commercial demonstrates is that it’s possible to effectively make a point in just 15 seconds (most commercials run for 30), and that will give Smart a lot more mileage from its ad budget. That said, I have to wonder about the tagline, which includes the term “uncar.” Smart’s not the first advertiser to use that concept to imply that its products are different. For years, 7-Up billed itself as the “Uncola” in an attempt to position the brand as an attractive alternative to Coke and Pepsi, and while that had some logic to it, I can’t imagine what “uncar” is supposed to mean. Are we to think of it as a four-wheeled motorcycle? A road-worthy golf cart or ATV? Even Smart’s website refers to its vehicles as “cars.” So why go to all the trouble to convince people that Smarts are strong, safe cars only to confuse them with a mysterious misnomer at the end? I’m not sure what that particular line of thinking is supposed to demonstrate.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Fiscal Cliff Bill, Safest Cars Of 2013, Justin Bieber's Ferrari: Today's Car News

Today at The Car Connection, both Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce celebrated 10 year milestones while the IIHS released a list of the 13 safest cars of 2013. The fiscal cliff bill ended up having some good news for green energy fans and Jaguar might reposition the XK in the future. All this and more in today’s car news, right here on The Car…
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Chrysler, Honda, Subaru Among IIHS's 13 Safest Cars Of 2013

Back in December, we told you about the winners (Honda) and losers (Toyota) in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s tougher frontal-crash tests. We also told you about the new IIHS designation, “Top Safety Pick+”, which recognizes vehicles that perform especially well in crash tests. Now, the IIHS has revealed the names of its Top Safety
Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Official: IIHS says these are the safest cars of 2013

By Seyth Miersma

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2013 Honda Accord V6 Coupe - red - front three-quarter view

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer “superior crash protection.” A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.

To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we’d expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category – unsurprisingly, it’s only midsize cars that you’ll find among the class this year.

Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.

Scroll down below for the full IIHS press release, and some more information about the methodology behind the institute’s new Top Safety Pick+ testing.

Continue reading IIHS says these are the safest cars of 2013

IIHS says these are the safest cars of 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Jan 2013 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mitsubishi Lancer, Outlander Sport named 2013 IIHS Top Safety Picks

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has added a pair of Mitsubishi models to its ever-growing list of 2013 Top Safety Picks, giving the prestigious safety award to the 2013 Outlander Sport and Lancer (sedan and Sportback). Both models make a return visit to the list, but with 117 cars now on the list and IIHS crash standards getting tougher just about every, this is big news for the small Japanese automaker.

Among small SUVs, the Outlander Sport is just one of nine vehicles in this segment to be named a Top Safety Pick, while the Lancer’s name is surrounded by 28 other compact coupes, sedans and hatchbacks in the highly competitive small car segment. The Top Safety Pick status does not apply to the Lancer’s Ralliart or Evolution variants, and neither the Outlander Sport nor the Lancer were subjected to the new small frontal offset crash test that would have resulted in the new Top Safety Pick+.

Scroll down for Mitsubishi’s press release.

Continue reading Mitsubishi Lancer, Outlander Sport named 2013 IIHS Top Safety Picks

Mitsubishi Lancer, Outlander Sport named 2013 IIHS Top Safety Picks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Dec 2012 14:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: IIHS subjects midsizers to tough new impact test, finds fault with Toyota, VW [w/video]

By Chris Paukert

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2013 Toyota Camry undergoing IIHS small overlap crash test

Crash tests continue to get ever tougher, and the new “small overlap” test from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety is giving engineers fits. The new procedure, launched in August, subjects just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to an impact at 40 miles per hour, and it’s proven to be a lot tougher to ace than the institute’s old 40-percent overlap test, which is also still in use. The test is designed to simulate impact with a pole, tree or an offset other vehicle – all common crash scenarios.

In its initial round of tests, the IIHS found just three of 11 midsize luxury and near-premium cars up to the job of earning acceptable or good ratings. In this latest go around, the IIHS subjected 18 midsize family sedans to the test, with two earning good ratings, 11 earning acceptable scores, three netting marginal and two suffering poor marks. Of those tested, the Honda Accord and Suzuki Kizashi earned top marks.

Interestingly enough, the IIHS has gone out of its way to highlight the poor performances by the Toyota automobiles it tested. The Camry and Prius V were both called out for poor performances in the small overlap, deeming them “the worst performers of the midsize group.” This, despite the fact that both models were new for 2012. Interestingly, both vehicles previously earned Top Safety Pick status, showing just how tough the new small overlap test really is.

IIHS also called out the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta for a poor performance, noting that its driver airbag module actually detached from the steering column during the crash test. The IIHS notes that the detachment occurred “relatively late in the crash and didn’t affect the dummy’s movement,” but it still marked down the Volkswagen as a result.

For a complete list of the vehicles tested and their scores, see the official press release and a video of the test below.

Continue reading IIHS subjects midsizers to tough new impact test, finds fault with Toyota, VW [w/video]

IIHS subjects midsizers to tough new impact test, finds fault with Toyota, VW [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Dec 2012 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: Autoblog