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 |  Jun 21 2011, 11:20 AM

Make way for the new winners! Let’s give the Saab 9-5 and the Volkswagen CC three cheers for earning their places as IIHS Top Safety Pick award winners.

Earning good ratings for performance in the Institute’s roof strength test for rollover protection, these luxury vehicles also brought in good ratings for front, side, and rear crash protection, and both come standard with electronic stability control. It’s interesting to note that Top Safety Pick only applies to the front-wheel drive Volkswagen CC – that’s because the heavier all-wheel drive version only rated acceptable in the roof strength test.

Taking the test this time around were eight midsize to large family and luxury cars, but only the 9-5 and CC came out on top. The 2011 Lexus ES 350 earned a good rating for rollover protection, but didn’t get an award because it didn’t make the grade when it came to rear crash protection. Other contenders that earned acceptable ratings for rollover protection were the BMW 3 series, Chevrolet Impala (models built after July 2010), Infiniti G, Lexus IS 250/350, and Saab 9-3.

[Source: IIHS]

 |  Aug 22 2010, 7:05 AM

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It’s good to be good – especially when you’re singled out for it. And that’s what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just did with the 2011 Cadillac CTS and Infiniti M37/M56, which earned Top Pick Safety Awards in the large luxury class and earned the top rating of good in recent roof strength tests.

A roof strength tests assess how well vehicles would protect people in rollover crashes. The CTS and M37/M56 passed this test and also received good ratings in all four of the IIHS’s safety evaluations, and include electronic stability control, a feature that helps drivers avoid crashes altogether.

“The test results show that manufacturers are moving quickly to improve the rollover safety of their newest designs,” says Institute president Adrian Lund.

Eariler winners in the large luxury class include the BMW 5 series, Hyundai Genesis, Lincoln MKS, Mercedes E class, and Volvo S80.

Using a roof strength test, the Institute is able to evaluate rollover protection. In this particular test, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle’s roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle’s weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This test is able to give a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes. Vehicles that are rated good have roofs that can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle’s weight.

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Infiniti M56x Review by Clicking Here

Read AutoGuide’s 2010 Cadillac CTS Review by Clicking Here

 |  Aug 18 2010, 8:59 AM

Luxury can also be safe. The latest vehicle to win an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award is the Cadillac SRX, a midsize luxury SUV. It earned the IIHS’s top safety designation after getting a good rating for rollover protection. The Cadillac SRX had previously earned good ratings for front, side, and rear crash protection.

To earn a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn the highest ratings in all four IIHS safety evaluations, as well as have electronic stability control (this comes standard on the SRX).

In order to evaluate rollover protection, the IIHS uses research of real-world crashes to conduct its roof strength test. To test for roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle’s roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5-inches of crush is compared to the vehicle’s weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This test gives a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes. Good rated vehicles have roofs that can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle’s weight.

The 2010 SRX withstood a force equal to 4.14 times weight. For comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight.

For the 2010 model year, General Motors strengthened the roof structure. The Top Safety Pick award applies to models built after May 2010.

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]