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US crash and rollover results

2004-06-08 14:13

Volvo S80 came out on top

John Oxley

The NHTSA tests are generally acknowledged to be less severe than those conducted by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since the latter uses tough frontal off-set impact testing, and therefore readers should beware of comparing the two.

Not surprisingly top of the list was the Volvo S80 - it scored five stars for everything and is the only car available in South Africa featured in the latest NHTSA tests, to perform at that level. That means it maxed out in frontal protection, side impact protection and rollover resistance.

The best big 4x4 was another Volvo, the XC90.

This one scored five stars for frontal impact protection on the driver's side, five stars on the passenger side, and five stars for side impact. And it was the only 4x4 to receive a car-like score for rollover - an amazing four stars, courtesy of its rollover stability system.

Five stars

In fact the rollover test is relatively new, and only one manufacturer, Mazda, had five star ratings across its range in rollover as tested.

The Mazda RX-8 received a four star rating for driver frontal impact, five stars for passenger frontal impact, four stars for side impact, and five stars for rollover resistance.

Its two-door open sports car partner, the Mazda MX-5, scored four stars for driver protection, five stars for passenger protection, and three stars for side impact resistance. It, too, scored five stars for rollover resistance.

The Mazda6 got five stars for frontal impact protection, but only three stars for protecting front seat occupants in a side impact - although the testers made no mention of the possibility of injuries.

It got four stars for rear seat side impact protection, and five stars for rollover.

The Jaguar X-Type was a consistent performer - it scored four stars for everything.

Surprising

The BMW 3 Series, however, threw out a surprising statistic. In frontal impact tests the car scored four stars for the driver and an excellent five for the front passenger.

However, despite being fitted with side airbags the testers concluded that front seat passengers had a high likelihood of sustaining pelvic injuries in a side impact, and it scored only three stars.

Rear seat passengers, though, have five star protection, and the car scored four stars in rollover tests.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class showed four stars for frontal impact protection but excellent five stars for side impact resistance and four stars for rollover.

The Audi A4 had a satisfactory result. Frontal impact rated four stars, with five stars for front seat side impact resistance and four stars for the rear seat passengers. Rollover was four stars.

The Honda Accord four-door got a super score, with five stars for frontal protection, four stars for side impact protection for the front passengers, and five stars for rear seat side impact resistance. Rollover was four stars.

Corolla

The Toyota Corolla, probably the most meaningful car in the tests as far as South African owners are concerned, gained five stars in frontal impact, four stars for side impact, and four stars for rollover.

Its main local opposition, the Volkswagen Golf 4, had a similar scored - five, four and four. But note that the US Golf is fitted with side airbags, which don't come standard in SA versions.

As to be expected the Volkswagen Jetta scored exactly the same as the Golf.

The Golf-based VW Beetle scored five stars for frontal protection, with excellent five stars for side impact protection, but was awarded only three stars for protecting rear seat passengers from a side impact. It gained four stars for rollover.

The three Korean small cars tested had diverse results.

The Chevrolet Aveo, also known as the Daewoo Kalos, received five stars for frontal impact, but a disappointing three stars for front and rear side impact protection and four stars for its ability to resist rollover.

However, the Hyundai Accent four-door gained four stars for frontal impact protection, five stars for front seat side impact resistance, and four stars for rear passenger side impact protection. It too got four stars in the rollover test.

Unsatisfactory

The Kia Rio four-door was, however, an unsatisfactory performer. It scored four stars in frontal impact tests, but only two stars in the side impact tests, front and rear. Rollover testing gained it four stars.

Moving up to a different segment, the expensive BMW Z4 sports car produced surprising results, with only four stars for frontal protection and three stars for side impact resistance. As to be expected, however, it got five stars in the rollover tests.

Amazingly its Japanese rival the Honda S2000 scored much higher in the US tests than the vaunted BMW, with four stars for frontal impact, five stars for side impact, and five stars for rollover.

The Honda Civic four-door sedan fared well, too, with five stars for frontal protection, four stars in the side impact tests, and four stars for rollover.

An even better performance came from the Hyundai Elantra. This four-door sedan gained five stars for driver frontal protection, four stars for front passenger frontal protection, and five stars for protecting front seat passengers in a side impact.

Rear seat side impact was four stars, as was rollover protection.

Mini Cooper

The MINI Cooper S scored lower than expected, despite its BMW design. It scored four stars for frontal impact protection, four stars for protecting the front seat occupants from side impacts, and four stars for rollover. However the testers deemed its rear seats too small to measure!

The Mitsubishi Lancer received a satisfactory four stars for frontal impact protection, but a shocking two stars for front seat side impact resistance. Rear seat passengers were better protected, and got four stars, and the car was awarded four stars for rollover.

The Hyundai Sonata also scored well, with four star protection in frontal and side impacts, and a surprising five stars for rollover.

Its sporting brother the Hyundai Tiburon coupe scored five stars for protecting the driver in a frontal impact, and four stars for side impact resistance - but the testers judged the rear seat too small to test. Rollover rating was four stars.

The Chrysler Crossfire - with 37% of its parts deriving from the previous model Mercedes-Benz SLK - had a high score, with five stars for driver's side frontal protection, five stars for the passenger, and four stars for side impact resistance. However, it was not tested for rollover.

Big cars

Bigger cars also had a mixed score line. The US-spec Toyota Camry - which is not exactly the same as cars sold locally - scored four stars for frontal impact protection, four stars for saving the front seat occupants in a side impact, and three stars for rear seat side impact resistance, with four stars for rollover.

But the Volkswagen Passat fared better, with five stars for frontal protection, four stars for side impact resistance, and four stars for rollover.

The Volvo S60 was another which surprised, with four stars for frontal and side impact protection for front seat passengers. However rear seat passengers get five star protection in a side impact, and it was awarded five stars for rollover.

In the luxury class, the Mercedes E-Class scored four stars for frontal protection, five stars for side impact, and five stars for rollover.

4x4s

Moving onto to SUVs - or 4x4s as they are more commonly known in South Africa, the Subaru Forester AWD showed five stars in everything but rollover, for which it was not tested!

The BMW X5 fared nearly as well, with five stars in the frontal impact tests, four stars for protecting front seat occupants in a side impact, and five stars for rear seat side impact. However, it, too, was not rated for rollover.

The Honda CR-V also scored five stars in everything but rollover - again not rated - but the Hyundai Sante Fe gave a shock result.

It got five stars for driver protection in a frontal impact, but only four stars for protecting the front passenger - with the comment that the passenger has a high risk of thigh injury.

Side impact protection for front seat passengers was rated at five stars, but side impact for rear passengers and rollover were not rated.

The Jeep Cherokee got a mixed bag of ratings. It got five stars for protecting the driver in a frontal impact, four stars for the passenger side, and five stars front and rear in side impact. Rollover, though was only three stars.

However, its big brother the Grand Cherokee didn't do nearly so well, with only three stars for frontal impact, four stars for side impact protection for the front passengers, and five stars for side impact protection in the rear. Rollover was not rated.

The Kia Sorento was better, though, with four stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact. Rollover has still to be rated.

The Mitsubishi Outlander gained four stars for frontal impact, with four stars for protecting the front occupants in a side impact, and five stars for rear seat side impact. Rollover was not rated.

The Toyota RAV4 got a four star rating for frontal impact and five stars for side impact, but, again, rollover was not rated.

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