Most midsize family sedans failed a new test by the insurance industry designed to see how well the cars would stand up to a side-impact crash with a pickup or SUV, reports USA Today.
Twelve of fifteen sedans failed the new test, which involves a barrier shaped like the front end of an SUV “T-boning” the side of the vehicle at a 90-degree angle going 31 miles per hour.
The test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety comes at a time when federal regulators are developing a side-impact test similar to IIHS’, and the auto industry, under pressure, has agreed to design changes for pickups and SUVs that should make them less lethal in crashes with cars by 2008.
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, equipped with optional head- and torso-protecting air bags, were the only vehicles to earn “good” ratings, which means occupants would likely not suffer serious injuries. The Chevy Malibu, tested with optional head protection air bags, scored “acceptable,” because its air bag system would likely result in torso injury, though not serious head injury.
Twelve models, including the Accord, Camry and Malibu without their optional air bags, scored “poor.” Three of the models that failed – the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Saturn LS – failed despite having side air bags.
Those results indicate that even side-impact and head-curtain air bags won’t always protect people in midsize cars hit at modest speed by a big pickup or sport-utility vehicle, the paper reports.