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Toyota bombs new crash test; most family cars outperform luxury models

Suzuki, Honda score the highest on a 25 percent offset test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

By Clifford Atiyeh Dec 20, 2012 7:43AM
Two Toyota models performed poorly on a new offset crash test designed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but 11 other midsize family cars received the group's highest overall crash scores, ranking them safer than many expensive luxury models.

Like nine luxury cars the IIHS tested in August, the new Toyota Camry and Prius V scored "poor." The IIHS, a nonprofit organization of insurance companies, tested 18 new cars. Of the total, 11 earned an "acceptable" rating while another three were "marginal."

"In the Camry, the force of the impact shoved the front wheel back into the footwell, bending the windshield pillar and pushing the parking-brake pedal and the left outer edge of the instrument panel rearward into the driver's survival space," the IIHS said. "Likewise, there was significant intrusion in the Prius V, along with high forces on the dummy's legs and feet."

Toyota said in a statement that it would "respond to the challenge" and that "there will not be one single solution to achieve greater crash performance in this area."

Two of the cars tested earned a "good" rating: the midsize 2013 Honda Accord sedan and the Suzuki Kizashi, which will not be on sale next year due to Suzuki's pullout from the U.S. market. The only cars the IIHS has tested so far with equivalent "good" ratings were the Volvo S60 and Acura TL.

The latest "small overlap test" modifies the group's standard offset frontal impact test, in which a car collides with a 5-foot tall barrier at 40 mph. The previous offset test strikes 40 percent of a car's frontal area, while the new test hits just 25 percent. This kind of impact, the IIHS says, occurs in about a quarter of all frontal crashes in which front passengers are seriously or fatally injured.

The Suzuki Kizashi, left, kept its body structure intact, versus the Toyota Prius V, at right. (IIHS)

Other models that performed well, but not as well as the Kizashi and Accord, included the Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Dodge Avenger, Subaru Legacy and Volkswagen Passat.

Normally, a car's safety cage is designed to keep the engine and other components from intruding into the cabin space during a head-on or offset frontal crash. But some popular cars, including the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, aren't strong enough to prevent their flanks -- plus the wheel and suspension components in this area -- from intruding the driver's side footwells and head space. In these worst cases, the frontal airbags move sideways and can't protect the driver's head, while serious leg and upper-body injuries can result from the pillars bending and deforming, the IIHS said.

The group does not yet factor the new test into its overall Top Safety Pick awards, hence the Camry's inclusion on that list. Eventually, automakers' performance in this test will have to be "acceptable" or "good" in order to have a top-scoring car.

[Source: IIHS]
Dec 30, 2012 4:47AM
Here we go again with Toyota ... more big news on poor quality and safety. They just had yet another massive recall on quality ... now POOR crash test safety results again. I just don't know how anyone buying a new car could possibly consider a Toyota ...
Dec 30, 2012 4:12AM
The way some people drive it won't matter what they drive, they drive like they are demon possessed and hell bent on killing themselves and anyone who gets in their way. My wife bought a Camry before we were married, it uses oil and that seems to be common to Camry's.
Dec 30, 2012 3:58AM
GM is the greatest car company still. Period.
Dec 30, 2012 2:39AM
One last thing before you shoot yourself in the balls again and not make friends. Toyota Employs More Americans Than Any Other "Domestic" car manufacturer. Period.
Dec 30, 2012 2:21AM
These comments certainly show the true colors of many Americans. Ignorance and full of hate. Maybe some jealousy too.
Dec 30, 2012 2:15AM
Read my post below and learn something.
Dec 30, 2012 2:13AM
Domestics have the highest failures in every aspect of car safety, reliability and recalls. That is fact. The import reputation is strong because it actually is a quality product. Ignorance is bliss, but it cant fix stupid. Oh and one last thing, Toyota Employs more Americans than the "Domestic" auto manufacturers. What a crock. Everyone is laughing at you.
Dec 26, 2012 2:24PM
Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to pay as much as $1.4 billion to settle U.S. litigation claims that its vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated, according to court filings made public Wednesday.

Toyota said it will take a one-time pre-tax charge of $1.1 billion to cover the estimated costs of the settlement.

Toyota will pay the $17.4 million fine for its slow response in recalling the 2010 Lexus RX, way to stand behide your customers........Toyota tells customers to "pound sand" Midas5280

And the hits just keep coming.......

Dec 25, 2012 6:58PM
Toyota headed in the wrong direction ...again.
Dec 23, 2012 11:20AM

According to the IIHS, The following held the #1 overall safety spot in thier categories:


Minicars: Fiat 500

Small Cars : Acura ILX

Midsize Moderate price: Audi A3

Midsize Luxury: Acura TL

Large Family: Buick Lacrosse

Large Luxury: Audi A6

Small SUV: Ford Escape

Midsize SUV: Chevy Equinox

Midsoze Luxury SUV: Acura MDX

Large SUV: Buick Enclave

Minivan: Chrysler Town and Country

Large Pickup: Ford F150





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