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2014 Chevrolet Volt Earns Top Marks in IIHS Testing

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/30/2014 Erick Ayapana

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently concluded crash test on a dozen small cars including the Nissan Juke, Mini Cooper Countryman, and Ford C-Max Hybrid. Of those 12 cars, only the 2014 Chevrolet Volt earned the institute’s coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating, while a handful of models didn’t fare as well.

The Volt, equipped with the optional Forward Collision Alert system, was put through the institute’s small overlap front crash test, and earned an “acceptable” score, one notch down from the highest rating of “good.” Added to the institute’s barrage of tests in 2012, the small overlap front crash test simulates a frontal collision that impacts the driver’s side corner at 40 mph. The Volt earned a “basic” rating for front crash prevention and was rated either “acceptable” or “good” in all other tests.

Meanwhile, the IIHS awarded Top Safety Pick ratings to the Mini Cooper Countryman, Ford C-Max Hybrid, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S, and Subaru BRZ. The Countryman earned a “good” rating in the small overlap test, while the others were rated “acceptable.” The Scion xB and Hyundai Veloster earned a “marginal” rating.

Four other cars, however, earned the lowest score of “poor” in the front overlap test, including the Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Leaf. In most cases, the vehicle’s overall structure severely collapsed, and would likely cause significant injuries to passengers. The institute notes that the Volt, Leaf, and C-Max Hybrid showed no issues with their battery packs following the tests.

Unfortunately, the Mazda5’s bad news goes beyond its poor performance in the small overlap front test. The three-row Mazda5 earned a “marginal” rating in the side impact evaluation, making it the only model-year 2014 vehicle (tested by the IIHS) to earn less than an “acceptable” in that test. The Mazda also showed other unfavorable results from the barrage of testing, including the driver door unlatching and the side curtain airbag failing to deploy during the small overlap front test.

2014 Chevrolet Volt IIHS Small Overlap© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Chevrolet Volt IIHS Small Overlap

The test results were enough for Consumer Reports to retract two models from its list of recommended cars. In addition to the Mazda5, the publication will no longer recommend the Nissan Leaf.

“The Mazda5 is an affordable, versatile vehicle that we have enjoyed and endorsed, but this test raises serious concerns,” CR stated in a release. In the case of the Leaf, the publication noted a number of concerns, including the 16 inches of intrusion into the lower passenger compartment during the small overlap front test.

Source: IIHS, Consumer Reports


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