Luxury Models Stumble in New Safety Crash Test

Ask any automotive journalist which manufacturer makes the worst car and almost every single one will say the same thing: “No one really makes bad cars anymore”. By the same token, no one really makes unsafe cars anymore either. However a new kind of safety crash test is revealing that some of the traditional gold medalists for safety, the luxury brands, have some work to do.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested 11 luxury cars in a new kind of crash test. The new crash test is designed to emulate 25% of the car hitting an object, such as a tree or a poll, at around 65 km/h. According the IIHS, there is an increasing amount of fatalities that occur in similar types of accidents.

Of the 11 vehicles tested 9 of them failed the test:

The Acura TSX, BMW 3-series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen Passat CC all got a “marginal” rating. The vehicles that did even worse were the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS sedan, Lexus ES sedan, and Audi A4 as they got the worst rating of “poor”.

The Infiniti G sedan was in the middle of the pack as it earned an “acceptable” rating.

The only two vehicles to earn the highest rating for the test were the Acura TL and Volvo S60 as they got the coveted “good” rating. In fact the Volvo S60 fared the best out of all 11 tested according to the IIHS as they pointed out that the Lexus IS sedan suffered 10 times more damage than the Volvo S60 while the Volkswagen Passat CC had its door completely ripped off – something that has never happened before in any IIHS testing.

It wasn’t all good news for the Volvo however, as they noted that the side impact air bags deployed a bit late. The Lincoln also got called out as the steering column moved to the right during the crash causing the dummy’s head to miss the airbag completely.

The good news? Well according to President Adrian Lund, most manufacturers build their cars to specifically meet the IIHS’s standards. Since this is a new test, there is now time for them to improve on their results.

Still when one plunks down the serious amount of cash required to own one of these 11 vehicles, there is an expectation that you are also paying for the best safety technologies money can buy as well. As Lund points out, non-luxury vehicles without the latest technology could fair even worse in the test.
Check out the video above for the explanations for some of the results


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