Less Expensive, Greater Safety
The IIHS tested 18 moderately priced midsize cars and rated two as "good" and eleven as "acceptable." The two cars rated as good by the IIHS are the Suzuki Kazashi and the Honda Accord. Lund credits Honda with making changes to the Accords design and structure so it can better withstand small overlap crashes.
Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering, also known as ACE, is the key the Accords rating of good. "The idea is to dissipate the crash energy while reinforcing the passenger cabin so the car can better withstand the impact," says Chuck Thomas, Chief Engineer of Auto Safety Research for Honda.
Here are the rankings of the midsize cars.
Honda Accord (4 door)
Honda Accord (2 door)
Nissan Altima (4 door)
Chrysler 200 (4 door)
Volkswagen Jetta Sedan
Toyota Prius V
Has Toyota Dropped the Ball?
Adrian Lund was not surprised the Toyota Camry and Prius V both rated poor in the small overlap crash test. The Camry is based on the same platform as the Lexus ES, which is one of four luxury midsize sedans rated as poor during the same type of crash tests conducted this summer. "I think Toyota has dropped the ball a bit," says Lund. "Toyota has not been as aggressive as other automakers staying up to date on occupant safety."
Luxury Still Struggling
The first group of vehicles the IIHS put through small overlap crash tests were midsize luxury and near luxury models. During those tests, just 3 of 11 models were rated as "good" or "acceptable". The Volvo S60 and Acura tl were rated as good while the Infiniti G models were rated as acceptable. The four luxury models rated as poor in small overlap crash tests were the Mercedes C-Class, the Lexus IS, Audi A4, and Lexus ES.
Why the difference between the moderately priced midsize sedans and their more expensive counterparts? Lund says automakers have had more time to incorporate design changes in midsize models than they did with luxury models tested earlier this year.