No Pony Cars Awarded as a Top Safety Pick

No Pony Cars Awarded as a Top Safety Pick

The iconic trio of muscle cars has been subjected to crash tests and the results aren’t ideal.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has evaluated the 2016 Dodge Challenger, 2016 Ford Mustang and 2016 Chevrolet Camaro for their crashworthiness and none of them were able to get a Top Safety Pick designation. The agency typically doesn’t test sports cars, but it tested these three models with V8 engines because they are higher volume sellers in their class.

The results show that the Challenger is in need of the most improvement, while the Mustang came the closest to getting the coveted Top Safety Pick award, and the Camaro fell short in one category.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350: 10 Things You Learn While Driving the Beast

To get the Top Safety Pick designation, cars must get good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests as well as some sort of basic front collision avoidance system (like a warning system). To get the Top Safety Pick+ designation, the car must get a good rating in all five tests and have an advance crash mitigation system (like automatic emergency braking).

All three pony cars earned good ratings for the occupant protection, side impact and moderate overlap front crash. In the newest and toughest test, the small overlap front test that simulates when a car hits a tree or pole or clips an oncoming car, the Camaro earned a good rating, the Mustang was acceptable and the Challenger got a marginal rating.

See how the trio scored in each test below:

IIHS Pony Car Crash Tests

  • Noe

    Sports cars. Not really.

    Well engineered. Not really

    Cheap and crap. Definitely

  • chryslerfan

    Autoguide of all car sites should know that pony cars are Fords. Think Mustang, Pinto, Maverick, etc. I am sure you have offended Moparians and Bow Tie lovers everywhere. This trio tested are muscle cars. Pure, raw, muscle. They are not sports cars. They are designed with power and speed in mind. On another note the IIHS has been known to not be as accurate as the real world crashes. While the IIHS testing should be considered; other statistics should be analyzed before drawing conclusions. Something tells me no one is buying a 700hp Hellcat for its safety ratings anyway. You want safety? Then buy something with a cage in it. You want a sorts car? Then buy a Corvette or Viper. You want muscle? Then buy a muscle car. Just don’t ever, ever again refer to my HEMI as a pony car.

  • CCE

    Chryslerfan, not sure how old you are, but back in “the days” – Camaros, Cudas, Challengers, Mustangs, AMX’s, etc. were in a size class referred to as Pony Cars. So today’s Challenger, Mustang, & Camaros are indeed Pony cars. Noe: they are well engineered, & they are not really cheap & crap. Go dream about your Toyotas & Hondas in some other import forum.

  • Bug S Bunny

    Does anyone buy any of these cars and (even remotely) consider the safety rating?

  • True. The Mustang originated the class, thus the nickname. However, any 2+2 sedan of a certain size (or “coupe,” depending on your insurance company) qualifies, regardless of manufacturer or brand.

    Also, the Pinto never qualified as a pony car. It was a compact hatchback.

  • chryslerfan

    Old enough to have raced my 69 hemi cuda. I have been a mechanic all my life and never heard a mopar referred to as a pony car. In fact where I’m from the term pony car is derogatory to Mustang owners.

  • chryslerfan

    A pinto is a type of horse which Ford liked to name their cars after. And we have always referred to Fords as pony cars. HEMI powered drones scream down the boulevard…yes im that old.

  • chryslerfan


  • chryslerfan

    Maybe you should test drive one. I have done restorations on plenty of cars and just finished repairing a wrecked Camaro. The muscle cars are well built and engineered. You should look under your Prius if you want to see crap…

  • Noe


    Toyota and Honda. I wouldn’t compare them with Pony cars however …. Toyota and Honda may be efficient and safe but with massive doses of bland and boring added in

    I suppose though, as the british would put it, that indeed the Pony cars referred to in this article are Pony. The reputation outside of USA is dreadful

    My penchant, as would be clear from my message history, is european and british supercars …… i have driven vipers, mustang, shelby and a saleen here in Japan but i don’t like them. Of the Usa powered vehicles though the Ford Raptor is pretty good.

    Enjoy the difference of opinions