The old term “They sure don’t build ’em like they used to” should always be followed up with a “Good,” because modern cars perform better in crash tests than any of the land yachts of the 1970s. Yeah, these cars may be smaller and lighter than those of yesteryear, but advancements in crumple zones and energy transfer over the decades has made them into very protective shells that crumple into piles of tin for the sake of protecting their passengers.
Unfortunately, all of this technology is not without its flaws, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is now pointing out. The IIHS has developed a new test to mimic the cause of nearly a quarter of all front-end collision deaths, which is called the “small overlap” test. This is when only a small portion of the front bumper impacts another vehicle or an object.
You may be surprised to hear about who’s failing this important new test. Among those tested to receive the IIHS’ worst rating, “Poor,” was the Mercedes Benz C-Class , Lexus IS and ES , and the Audi A4 . Receiving a score of “Marginal,” which is just above poor, is the Acura TSX , BMW 3-Series , Lincoln MKZ , and Volkswagen CC .
Click past the jump for the rest of the results, as well as an obnoxious statement by one top automaker in regards to the testing process.
gallery: Lexus ES
gallery: Mercedes C-Class
Many of those that flunked the test played it off saying that their cars still met federal safety regulations. Mercedes -Benz took a rather conceited route by saying “As a leader in automotive safety, we have full confidence in the protection that the C-Class affords its occupants — and less confidence in any test that doesn’t reflect that.” That’s not confidence, Mercedes, that’s called blind cockiness.
Some of the automakers did pledge to do better, and Toyota had a rather admiral statement in regards to Lexus failing the test. Toyota ’s Brian Lyons was quoted saying "With this new test, the Institute has raised the bar again and we will respond to this challenge as we design new vehicles."
We definitely need more automakers like Toyota in this instance and less that just shove their nose in the air, like Mercedes did. Poorly played, Benz. You’ll lose a lot of fans that way...