The third video from the “Inside IIHS” series has been released, with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety giving us a look at how it determines the roof strength of vehicles.
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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.
If you don’t succeed, try, try again. And that’s just what Ford did – when the 2011 Edge and Lincoln MKX didn’t make the cut for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, they made improvements to roof strength, and finally got the thumbs up from the IIHS.
These midsize SUVs jumped from acceptable to good for roof strength in rollover crashes to earn the Top Safety pick award. In order to pick up this prize, vehicles must earn the top rating of good for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and they must have electronic stability control as a standard feature (ESC).
In the IIHS’s roof strength evaluation, the Edge and the Lincoln MKX withstood a force equal to 4.7 times the vehicles’ weight. To earn a good rating, vehicles must achieve a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher. Only models produced after February, 2011 can boast TSP certification.
Drum roll please! The 2011 Mazda 3 is the latest vehicle to make it as a Top Safety Pick, after earning the top rating of good for roof strength in rollover crashes, as well as for front, side, and rear crash protection.
The sedan/hatchback drove away with a Top Safety Pick in the small cars category. It’s the first Mazda to achieve this rating since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had changed its criteria, making it more difficult for vehicles to earn a good rating.
To rate the 4-door sedan and hatchback versions, the Mazda 3 had to go through two tests. The roof of the sedan withstood a force equal to 5.32 times the car’s weight, while the roof of the hatchback withstood a force equal to 5.09 times its weight. To earn a good rating in the IIHS test, vehicles must have a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher. The Mazda 3 also features electronic stability control (ESC), which comes standard on the 2011 model.
The award for the Mazda 3 only applies to those cars built after December 2010, as the automaker made changes to the roof structure to improve roof strength.
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]