The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe as a Top Safety Pick. The midsize SUV earned the top rating of good for front, side, and rear crash protection and is equipped with electronic stability control. Now 21 cars, SUVs, and minivans earn TOP SAFETY PICK status.
Also Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona earned TOP SAFETY PICK for minivans.
"Criteria to win are tough because they’re intended to drive continued safety improvements such as high crash test ratings and rapid addition of electronic stability control, which is standard equipment on the Santa Fe," Lund says. The Santa Fe also is equipped with side airbags as standard equipment to protect the heads of people in all three rows of seats.
The Santa Fe was designed to improve performance in rear impact. The seats and head restraints in this vehicle’s predecessor model were rated poor overall. The new seats include head restraints designed to automatically move up and toward the heads of people in the front seats during a rear impact. These new seat/head restraints are rated good overall.
How vehicles are evaluated
The Institute’s frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each vehicle’s overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a Hybrid III dummy in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.
Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings reflect injury measures recorded on two instrumented SID-IIs dummies, assessment of head protection countermeasures, and the vehicle’s structural performance during the impact.
Injury measures obtained from the two dummies, one in the driver seat and the other in the back seat behind the driver, are used to determine the likelihood that a driver and/or passenger in a similar real-world crash would sustain serious injury to various parts of the body.
The movements and contacts of the dummies’ heads during the test also are evaluated. Structural performance is based on measurements indicating the amount of B-pillar intrusion into the occupant compartment.
Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure.
Starting points for the ratings are measurements of head restraint geometry — the height of a restraint and its horizontal distance behind the back of the head of an average-size man. Seat/head restraints with good or acceptable geometry are tested dynamically using a dummy that measures forces on the neck.