The government-run tests were the first that employed a “female” crash-test dummy, and a direct crash into a pole. The vehicles were rated from 1 to 5 stars, which are based on a weighted average of risk of injury in the front and side crashes and rollover resistance compared to other vehicles. The only vehicles to earn 5 stars were Hyundai and BMW, and were among the first 34 vehicles tested this new way.
These new tests were put in place in order to give shoppers more information, since high scores had become so common.”More stars equal safer cars,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Through new tests, better crash data and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers.”
Most surprising were the results for the 2011 Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in the U.S. that got just 3 stars overall (the 2010 model, which was nearly identical, got top scores last year). The only other car to get a 3-star rating was the Camry Hybrid.
Placing at the bottom was the 2011 Nissan Versa, which was also the only vehicle to score just 2 stars overall. The blame of this poor score, says Nissan, is the Versa’s old design, and the company is working on ways to improve the car’s crash-test scores without a full redesign. The automaker believes that the 2011 Juke, which is based on the Versa platform, should score higher as it’s a newer iteration.
As for the rest of the vehicles, the remaining 2011 vehicles that were tested ranked with 4 stars overall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is planning on testing 22 more 2011 models.
See after the jump for the full list of models tested under the new 2011 rules: