Sunday 26 January 2020

Mazda 5, Fiat 500L and Nissan Leaf fair badly in US crash test

Bob Flavin

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety's report says that the small overlap crash test defeats many new cars

We have the NCAP rating but in the US they have the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) which basicly do the same job but with an added test or two.

The small overlap test is one of the hardest tests for any car to pass because it's a slim test down the side of the car mostly at it's weakest points. It's meant to replicate what happens when you stray out of lane and hit something with only a small part of the car. It's also meant t represent what happens if you hit a pole or other narrow object.

The NCAP doesn't test for this instead they perform a moderate overlap test which is nearly 40% of the front of the car and only on the left side even though, as drivers, we sit on the right side of the car. It's assumed that both sides of the front of a car are made to the same standard.

What the IIHS have revealed is that when you slam a car going into a wall at 64kph the damage can be catastrophic. Out of the cars tested the Mini Countryman was rated good, the Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-Max hybrid, Mitsubishi Lancer and the Scion FS-R (Toyota GT86) all scored “acceptable” rating.

It was the Mazda 5, Fiat 500L and Nissan Leaf that were all rated as "poor" which is the worst rating a car can get in the system. The Hyundai Veloster rated "marginal" which isn't much better.

"When we tested the Mazda 5 we saw a host of structural and restraint system problems. Parts of the occupant compartment essentially buckled, allowing way too much intrusion," says Joe Nolan, the Institute's senior vice president for vehicle research.

"The Mini Cooper Countryman gave a solid performance. The Countryman's safety cage held up reasonably well. The safety belts and airbags worked together to control the test dummy's movement, and injury measures indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a real-world crash this severe."

The damning report also has videos attached so you can see for yourself what happens when this test is carried out.



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