IIHS tested 10 midsize convertible models and the results of the testings show that Saab and Volvo offer good protection in front, side, and rear crashes, and both models include standard electronic stability control (ESC) while the lowest rated convertible model overall is the Pontiac G6. The German convertible, like Audi A4 and BMW 3 series, earn good ratings in frontal offset tests, both are rated marginal for side impact protection and poor for protection in rear crashes.
In order to achieve the designation of the "Top Safety pick" a convertible must have good ratings in all 3 Institute crash tests and it also must have ESC. All the convertibles must be equipped with rollbars designed to preserve occupants’ headroom if a convertible rolls over. Both the 9-3 and C70 are equipped with standard pop-up rollbars behind the rear head restraints that deploy if sensors detect a serious crash.
"The performances of the 9-3 and C70 are impressive," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "These cars combine what convertible buyers should look for if they’re shopping with safety in mind. The Saab and Volvo not only provide good protection in high-speed front and side crashes but also have good seat and head restraint designs for protecting against whiplash in rear crashes."
"We wanted to test convertibles because sales are increasing," Lund says. "We also wanted to evaluate a group of vehicles that automakers wouldn’t expect us to test to see if crashworthiness improvements in mainstream cars also are being built into convertibles. For the most part we found that this is happening."
IIHS also reports that price doesn’t necessarily predict good crash test ratings. Two of the least expensive models among the 10 the Institute tested are the Chrysler Sebring and Mitsubishi Eclipse, both of which recently were redesigned and earn good ratings in front and side crash tests.