Only three of the seven vehicles received a “good” or “acceptable” rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s most recent evaluation.
IIHS gave ratings of “good”, “acceptable”, “marginal” and “poor”.
Of the seven vehicles tested, which were classified as medium-sized by IIHS, the Subaru Outback was the only one to receive a “good” rating, while the Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta were “acceptable”. The Honda Accord received a “marginal” rating and the Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry all received a “poor” rating. The vehicles were all 2022 models.
The test has been updated to replicate more real-world side-impact collisions, which account for nearly 25 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities, IIHS said. The test now uses a 4,200-pound barrier hitting the vehicle at 37 mph, as opposed to a 3,300-pound barrier hitting the vehicle at 50 mph. The results come after IIHS tested a separate set of medium-sized vehicles this year using the updated criteria, and 10 of the 18 vehicles received a “good” rating. Only one of the 20 “small SUVs” tested under the new criteria last year received a “good” rating.
IIHS President David Harkey told: Automotive News that the lower ride height of the latest cohort vehicles contributed to their poorer performance.
“We believe part of what we’re seeing here is the fact that the sedans and the midsize cars drive lower to the ground than the midsize or the small SUV,” Harkey said. “As a result, the barrier we are now using is higher on the sedan door, allowing more entry into the passenger compartment and increasing the risk of injury. This is not unexpected.”
IIHS said all seven vehicles earned “good” ratings under the original version of the test.
A 2011 IIHS study found that vehicles that received a “good” side-impact rating were 70 percent less likely to inflict casualties in real-world crash scenarios compared to vehicles that received a “poor” rating.