6. Small Overlap, Big Challenge
Earlier in 2012 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) introduced a tough new crash test for vehicles. The so-called “small overlap test” features an immovable five-foot-tall barrier that covers 25 percent of the driver’s side front of a vehicle. Cars are plowed into the steel barricade at 40 miles an hour.
IIHS is famous for its off-set crash test and this is another variation of that. Hitting a fixed barrier with a small portion of a vehicle’s front end pushes crumple zones and safety structures to their limits. In initial testing only two out of 11 luxury and near-luxury cars earned a “good” rating in the test, the highest score possible. Top honors went to the Acura TL and Volvo’s S60. In later testing for family sedans, the Toyota Camry managed only a rating of “Poor.”
While tests like this one are not yet mandatory, more demanding safety regulations are almost a guarantee going forward.