Test shows family sedans safer than luxury models

Posted on: 5:32 am, December 20, 2012, by

The Suzuki Kizashi is one of a handful of family sedans to test better than comparable luxury models. (Photo: Suzuki.com)

The Suzuki Kizashi is one of a handful of family sedans to test better than comparable luxury models. (Photo: Suzuki.com)

(CNN) — If you’re in the market for a new car for the New Year, a new round of crash tests indicates family sedans may fare better than some luxury models. The details, in today’s Consumer Watch.

A new round of crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found moderately-priced vehicles outperforming some luxury models in a key safety test.

IIHS put 18 mid-sized family cars through its new small overlap test, replicating what happens when the front corner of a vehicle hits something like another car, a tree or a utility pole.

In this kind of crash, the vehicle rotates, and the driver tends to keep going towards the windshield pillar, so you want the frontal airbag and the side airbag to make sure you can’t get there.

When tested in August only 3 of 11 luxury and near-luxury models earned a good or acceptable rating.

Among the family cars, 13 earned the IIHS distinction of top safety pick plus, which now includes the small overlap test.

Those high testers include the following vehicles.

  • The Chrysler 200 4-door
  • Dodge Avenger
  • Ford Fusion
  • The Honda Accord 2-door and 4-door
  • The Kia Optima
  • Nissan Altima
  • Subaru’s Legacy and Outback
  • The Suzuki Kizashi
  • The Volkswagen Passat

IIHS says that many automakers have responded to the new test, to make future models, safer.

“When we looked at modern vehicles and why people were dying, we found that about a quarter of those deaths in frontal crashes occur in a small overlap crash,” the institute said in a release. “So we think that this is the next big piece of safety that we can design into the vehicle for people.”