Affordable mid-sized family cars have outperformed their luxury counterparts in the latest round of crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US.
Thirteen out of 18 ‘moderately priced’ mid-sized cars were rated either ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ (the top two ratings) in the IIHS’s unique new small overlap crash test, compared with just three from a group of 11 ‘luxury and near-luxury’ mid-sizers.
The new 2013 Honda Accord sedan and the Suzuki Kizashi led the field of the affordable medium cars with the highest ‘good’ rating. The Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion (new Mondeo in Australia), Honda Accord coupe, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Nissan Altima and Maxima, Subaru Legacy (Liberty) and Outback, and the Volkswagen Passat followed close behind with ‘acceptable’ ratings.
The Acura TL, Volvo S60 and the Infiniti G sedan were the only luxury mid-sizers to score one of the top two ratings in the test group in August 2012, despite the vehicles from both price ranges being marked against the same set of criteria. The Audi A4, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class were among a group of luxury cars to score the lowest ‘poor’ rating last year.
Not all affordable mid-sized family cars impressed, however. The Chevrolet (soon to be Holden) Malibu, Hyundai Sonata (i45 in Australia) and the Volkswagen Jetta were found to offer ‘marginal’ protection for the driver in the crash test, while the Toyota Camry and Prius V (pictured top) were both rated ‘poor’ in the test.
The IIHS’s small overlap crash test is designed to replicate the impact of the front corner of a car colliding with another vehicle or a tree. In the test, 25 per cent of a car’s front end on the driver’s side strikes a 1.5m rigid barrier at 64km/h.
The IIHS says about one in four serious or fatal injuries on the road occur in small overlap frontal crashes.