IIHS Finds Out that Certain Automakers Cheat in the Small Overlap Crash Test

Vehicles with good driver-side protection may leave passengers at risk 6 photos
Photo: IIHS
Vehicles with good driver-side protection may leave passengers at risk2015 Toyota RAV42015 Toyota RAV4 2015 Toyota RAV4 passenger-side small overlap crash test2015 Toyota RAV4 driver-side small overlap crash test2015 Toyota RAV4 passenger-side small overlap crash test
The painful truth is that the biggest interest of automakers is to turn a profit and keep shareholders happy. However, automakers are shaving off too many costs, including in areas related to safety.
As some of you might know by now, one of the most important tests employed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is the small overlap front crash test. The problem with it is that the IIHS conducts the small overlap front test by propelling the driver’s side of the vehicle at 40 mph (64 km/h) into a barrier. Only the driver’s side, I just want to make that clear.

Introduced in 2012, the small overlap front rating prompted automakers to make their cars stronger in a crash of this severity. Only the driver’s side, at least. Believe it or not, the passenger side of the car has been completely neglected by some automakers.

The IIHS conducted passenger-side small overlap tests on seven small SUVs and only the 2016 Hyundai Tucson was rated ‘good.’ The other six SUVs, on the other hand, hot ‘acceptable’, ‘marginal’, and even ‘poor’. That, my dear friend, is what corporate greed and cost uninspired cutting leads to.

The ’acceptable’ crowd consists of the Buick Encore, Honda CR-V, and the Mazda CX-5, while the Nissan Rogue and the Subaru Forester settled for ’marginal’. The worst offender, though, is the Toyota RAV4. How is it possible for the driver-side rating to be ‘good’ and the passenger-side rating to be ‘poor’?

Well, look at the featured photo then decide what’s wrong with this picture. “Some vehicle structures look the same on both sides, but they don't perform the same,” declared David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer.

Dear automakers with sales operations in the U.S., the Institute called your bluff. Introducing passenger-side small overlap ratings could be the solution to this mess-up. “The Institute could start such a program next year and make it a requirement for one of its safety awards as early as 2018,” reads a statement from the IIHS.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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