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TOTD: Does a Car’s IIHS Crash Test Performance Matter to You?

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/12/2014 Erick Ayapana
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI IIHS crash test© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI IIHS crash test

In his latest column, executive editor Ron Kiino discusses the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s testing procedures. Specifically, he focuses on the institute’s small overlap frontal crash test (SOL), which determines a vehicle’s safety performance when 25 percent of the car’s front end (on the driver’s side) is struck by another object including cars, trees, and poles. Kiino takes a car’s SOL performance into consideration whether he’s testing it or taking it on a road trip and we want to know if you do the same.

IIHS Front Crash Prevention Testing© Provided by MotorTrend IIHS Front Crash Prevention Testing

The IIHS reports that there were 10,000 crash fatalities in 2012 -- approximately 25 percent of those were a result of small overlap crashes. As a result, the IIHS recently integrated SOL crash testing into its already extensive regimen and will only give its coveted Top Safety Pick award to vehicles that perform well in SOL testing.

Consequently, many automakers are scrambling to make sure their vehicles ace the test. Honda, for example, made quick retrofits to the Civic’s front to pass the test, as did Mercedes-Benz with its E-Class midsize sedan. The institute, however, has an even higher award dubbed Top Safety Pick+. Here, cars must also meet criteria for collision avoidance systems.

The list of 2014 Top Safety Pick winners is small, consisting of just 49 vehicles, while only 31 cars are considered Top Safety Pick+ winners. Does a car’s safety test performance matter to you? Let us know in the comments below.


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