Small car performance is mixed in new side crash test – Insurance News Net | CarTailz

Arlington, Va, November 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Seven out of 11 small cars tested achieve good or acceptable ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new, tougher side impact test, but four models score poorly.

The Mazda 3 sedan and Mazda 3 hatchback deserve good reviews. Five other vehicles — the Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla sedan, Toyota Corolla hatchback, Honda Civic sedan, and Honda Civic hatchback — are deemed acceptable.

The Kia Forte, Subaru Crosstrek and Subaru Impreza sedan and station wagon are rated as poor.

“It’s encouraging to see so many small cars passing grades in this new side test,” said IIHS senior research engineer Becky Mueller, who drove the development of the evaluation forward. “Smaller, lower vehicles are at a disadvantage when hit by the new test barrier, which is a more realistic representation of the front end of a typical modern SUV than our old barrier. Apparently, some manufacturers have already figured out how to adequately protect the occupants of small cars in such a crash.”

In previous IIHS tests of small SUVs, mid-size SUVs and mid-size cars, a higher ride height seemed to result in better performance in the new rating. A higher vehicle means that the moving barrier will impact closer to the floor of the passenger compartment. The results for the small cars suggest that the vehicle length – especially the length of the passenger compartment – ​​could also play a role.

“Doors tend to be weaker than the B-pillar and the frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. Small cars have less of that weaker space because of their shorter wheelbase and passenger compartment,” he said Raul ArbelaezVice President of the Institute Vehicle Research Center.

The structure and safety cage of the well-rated Mazda 3 vehicles held up well in the new test, and the head-protecting airbags for the driver and rear passengers prevented the dummies’ heads from hitting the hard surfaces of the passenger compartment. As a result, there was a low risk of most types of injury. However, there was a moderate risk of injury to the driver’s upper body and pelvis.

The structure and safety cage also held up fairly well in all five vehicles with an Acceptable rating, although the barrier impact caused minor intrusion into the passenger compartment. The head-protecting airbags for the driver and rear passengers on Civics and Corollas prevented the dummy heads from hitting the hard surfaces of the door and window sill and helped minimize the risk of head injuries. In the Sentra, the driver dummy’s head moved down past the side airbag and hit the window sill, but the car’s solid performance in other areas prevented this error from resulting in a further classification downgrade.

Injury measurements also indicated a significant risk of injury to the driver’s pelvis in both the Civics and Corollas, and a moderate risk of injury to the driver’s pelvis in the Sentra. The risk of upper body injury was moderate for both the driver and rear passenger in the Civic, while measurements for the Civic indicated moderate risk for the driver and significant risk for the rear passenger.

For the poorly rated Forte, measurements on the driver’s dummy showed a high risk of injury to the upper body and pelvis and a relatively high risk of head or neck injuries. The dummy driver’s head hit the window sill hard through the side curtain airbag, and the structure of the passenger compartment was not well maintained, contributing to a moderate risk of injury to the rear passenger’s upper body and pelvis.

For the poorly-rated Crosstrek, whose test also applies to the Impreza sedan and Impreza station wagon, the B-pillar and inner door panels intruded more into the passenger compartment, encroaching on survival space and contributing to a relatively high risk of upper body injuries for driver and passenger. The dummy driver’s head also moved down past the side airbag and hit the window sill, indicating insufficient head protection.

IIHS developed the updated side impact test after research showed that many of the real-world side impacts, which still account for nearly a quarter of passenger fatalities, are more severe than the original rating.

The updated side crash test uses a heavier barrier traveling at higher speeds to simulate the impacting vehicle. The new barrier weighs 4,200 pounds – almost the same as today’s mid-size SUVs – and hits the test vehicle at 60 km/h, compared to a 3,300-pound barrier that was traveling at 50 km/h in the original assessment.

Currently, the updated test is not included in the IIHS award criteria. From 2023, however, a good or acceptable rating will be required for the lower level TOP SECURITY PICK Distinction and a good rating are required for the higher level TOP SECURITY PICK+.

All 11 vehicles achieve good ratings in the original side test.


See attached image for full reviews for 11 small cars.

B-roll package with crash test footage, test preparation, vehicles on the road:

Thu 10.11.2022, 10:30-11 a.m. ET; to repeat 1:30pm-2pm ET (KU) GALAXY 17
SD transponder 12/slot 4 (dl11943V) bandwidth 6 MHz; Symbol rate 3.9787 FEC ¾
HD transponder 12/Lower (dl11931V) bandwidth 18MHz; Symbol rate 13,235 FEC ¾

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That Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS) is an independent, not-for-profit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing death, injury and property damage from motor vehicle accidents through research, evaluation and education for consumers, policy makers and safety professionals. IIHS is fully endorsed by auto insurers.


  • The 2022-23 Subaru Crosstrek gets a poor rating in the institute’s new, tougher side crash test.

  • IIHS updated subcompact side crash test ratings

Joe Young
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
[email protected]

Source: Insurance Institute for Road Safety

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