This may seem like a bit of a hot take, but I think it’s generally okay if your car protects you from a collision. as the size of vehicles on US roads is increasingand drivers are getting more and more distractedit is becoming increasingly important for cars to ensure that their occupants are safe.
With that goal in mind, the IIHS recently revamped its side impact testing to more accurately simulate the forces involved in real-world crashes. The impact barrier, a large wheeled block designed to hit like an SUV, now weighs more and moves faster. Those factors, combined with the SUV ride height, mean that mid-sized sedans are struggling — and even to fail.
The IIHS recently tested seven midsize sedans against the new criteria, and found only one to deserve a good rating: the 2022 Subaru Outback. Considering the Outback’s car silhouette and elevated ride height, debate may arise as to whether really deserves entry into the “medium-sized car” class, but those two differences seem to have made the car safer for side impacts.
The Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta were each found to be ‘acceptable’, and the Honda agreement “Marginal.” The rest of the crowd, the camry, Altimaand Malibuall got ‘bad’ reviews, mainly because of their size.
David Harkey, president of the IIHS, said the same thing: “With vehicles sitting lower to the ground, the conspicuous barrier hits higher on the door panel.” With a test built to simulate the impact of a “higher-riding pickup truck or SUV,” low ride height is an inherent drawback — the test barrier hits these cars on the windows and pillars, rather than the door panels.
The IIHS’s test is biased in favor of crossovers and trucks with great handling characteristics, but it’s a reflection of the world (and the cars) around us. Cars have grown, ride heights have increased, and they’ve put the rest of us at risk.