IIHS Adds New Passenger-Side Crash Test

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

A good or acceptable rating on the new passenger-side small overlap front crash test will be required to qualify for a 2018 Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced a new passenger-side crash test that ensures automakers are paying attention to the safety of front passengers as well as drivers. According to IIHS, the test was developed “after it became clear that some manufacturers were giving short shrift to the right side of the vehicle when it comes to small overlap front crash protection.”

In order to be eligible for a 2018 Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS, vehicles will have to earn a good or acceptable passenger-side rating.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Jeep Compass Falls Short of IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award

To start, 13 vehicles underwent the passenger-side small overlap front test, with ten out of the 13 earning a good rating. One vehicle earned an acceptable rating, while two earned a marginal rating. One of the top performers was the Subaru Outback, with its good rating also applying to the Subaru Legacy. In the test of the Outback, the passenger’s side was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of four inches at the right edge of the toepan. The safety belt and front and side curtain airbags worked together to keep the dummy in place, with IIHS saying measures taken from the dummy show there would be a low risk of injury in a similar real-world crash.

The two vehicles earning a marginal rating are the Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat. In both cars, the passenger dummy’s head slid off the front airbag and contacted the dash. The dummy showed head injuries would be possible in a similar real-world crash.

The vehicle with the most structural damage was the Mazda6, with intrusion reaching nine inches at the lower door-hinge pillar, compared to five inches in the driver-side test. Even then, the sedan’s airbags worked well together, and the dummies showed no indication of likely injuries, so the Mazda6 earns a good rating overall.

See how all the vehicles did in the chart below.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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