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IIHS has added two more Top Safety Picks (silver): Lexus IS 250/350 and BMW 3 series 4-door.
The G35 was an underachiever in the side-impact test, getting an "acceptable" rating but with a "poor" in one of the injury-measurement subcategories. It also got only a "marginal" assessment for the rigidity of its safety cage. One of the post-test pictures shows a disturbing amount of intrusion at the base of the B pillar. Given the G35's price level, it should have done far better.
Except that you may not be as agile during a crisis as you think you will be, in which case these passive devices may mean the difference between life and death.
Moreover, the spectacular crash examples you have cited are more of an exception than the rule. I am not sure what the point is there.
1. A car may get 5 stars in IIHS then do poorly poorly in NHTSA crash tests. The test are conducted differntly and therefor get different results.
2. Using a crash rating as a basis, assumes that (a.) there is a good chance you'll be in an accident, and (b.) that the accedint will be the "common" type (full frontal, offset frontal, side impact, roll-over) that your car tested well at (and I'm sure you know specifically), and (c.) that its going to have a noticable impact on how you servive.
3. Find someone you know that been in a major crash, as driver or passenger, and ask them how close their accedent was to the control invironment of a carsh test.
True. Ideally, you'd want a vehicle that does well in all these tests. That will be the one that is designed to protect best in the widest range of crashes.
"2. Using a crash rating as a basis, assumes that (a.) there is a good chance you'll be in an accident, and (b.) that the accedint will be the "common" type (full frontal, offset frontal, side impact, roll-over) that your car tested well at (and I'm sure you know specifically), and (c.) that its going to have a noticable impact on how you servive."
The crash tests are not done in a vacuum. Both the IIHS and NHTSA have done correlations that show significant reductions in fatalities that track improvements in crash test results.
Crash avoidance is a very important safety factor, too. So, why not pick a vehicle with stability control, good handling and braking characteristics that also gets top crash scores? Personally, I wouldn't rely on crash avoidance to escape all crashes. Most people think they're great drivers, yet motor vehicle crashes remain the #1 killer in age groups through 35 years old:-( . All it takes is that bad driver on the cellphone in the oncoming monster SUV to swerve over at the last second...
"3. Find someone you know that been in a major crash, as driver or passenger, and ask them how close their accedent was to the control invironment of a carsh test."
"Someone you know" is not a good reference for this information. The proper person to ask would be an experienced crash reconstructionist. You can also find information on the NHTSA and IIHS websites about why they chose their crash testing methods based on the most common types of crashes in the real world.
Playing devil's advocate, I wouldn't assume that a vehicle that did poorly in crash tests that simulate the most common types of crashes would do any better in less common types of impacts.
Perhaps, but once your in an accident the experts opinion is meaningless if you don’t walk away. You show me a vehicle so safe that nobody has died in it. And on the opposite side of that coin, there 100's of thousands of people that have walked away from major accidents in cars that would fail every moderm crash test.
Are your odds better in a higher rated car? Of course. In the end, will it make a difference? Lets hope we never find out.
What is the safest rated car in the world...Does anyone know the answer ?
Some of the results may surprise you. Who would have thought the Toyota 4Runner would be the 2nd safest car on the road, based on driver death rate stats?
So SUVs do tend to be significantly better in multiple vehicle crashes, but "make up" for it in single vehicle and rollover accidents. Midsized and large 4-wheel drive SUVs do very well overall (on par with minivans), whereas small and very large 4WD SUVs, small and midsized 2WD SUVs, and most pickups have death rates very close to those of small sedans (~100 to 110 deaths per million registered years).
Also interesting: "In almost every size group of two-door and four-door cars, for example, the death rate of the worst vehicle was at least twice the death rate for the best vehicle."
(Different story among midsized SUVs: 12 for the 4Runner, 119 for the Land Rover Discovery II, and 134 for the 2-door Explorer. I didn't leave a digit out of the 4Runner's rate.)
It also sounds like they DID adjust the rates to account for driver behavior, by using 25-64 year old women as a reference point to normalize to. The Pontiac Firebird is still one of the worst despite that.
Ooh, here's a tidbit that'll make good bait for our Townhall arguments, given how often people bring up the Civic as a danger to the driver and all of humanity in general:
The Civic coupe had a lower death rate than the Excursion and 2WD Tahoe. It also beat the Taurus, Malibu, Grand Am, Sebring, S-type, and Caravan. And the Volvo S40 as well (!?). The sedan was a little better!
The domestic cars made a poor showing for these years (2000-2003). They'd better improve by the next survey.
First, there isn't enough data for the individual vehicles to give statistically valid results, i.e., the margin of error is too large. For example, the range of possible values for the E-class ("top" of it's class) is 0 - 22, while the range of the "bottom" Jaguar S-type is 14 - 123. The true values could be 16 for the E-class and 15 for the Jaguar.
Second, demographics (e.g., differences in driver age, driver behavior and driving conditions) have not been taken into account.
The problems are readily apparent in the dramatically different results for essentially identical vehicles. Examples:
Pontiac Grand Prix 73
Oldsmobile Intrigue 93 (+27%)
Toyota Corolla 93
Chevrolet Prizm 128 (+38%)
Ford Crown Victoria 53
Mercury Marquis 83 (+57%)
Buick LeSabre 60 ("best" large car)
Pontiac Bonneville 97 (+62%, "worst" large car)
I agree, the domestic makers are lagging behind in safety. When it comes to safety, you often get what you pay for. Stories abound of car makers asked to cut costs - and what do they cut? Metal - from the frame and roof pillars. Using lesser (and thinner) grades of steel is a simple cost-cutting measure that most consumers will never notice - unless of course the roof crushes in on you. Some of the foreign makers test their vehicles to higher standards - especially in the case of roof crush strength.
Consider the Chevy blazer 2dr with a calculated rate of 308 and lower 95% confidence interval of 190 (and an upper one of 426!!). Certainly one can compare this vehicle, as an example, to a Toyota 4Runner with an upper 95% confidence bound of 29. It is statistically established with a very high degree of confidence the 4Runner is a safer vehicle. I certainly wouldn't put my family in a 2 dr blazer.
Also, the ranges are based on a 95% CI. Selection of a different CI, such as 90%, will cause the intervals to diverge further. As I'm sure you know, statistics rarely prove anything - they simply provide a probability-measure of how likely a hypothesis is to be true.
Demographics were taken into account. See the note on page 10. The data were normalized based on the death rates of women aged 25-64. I don't know how they did this so I really can't defend it - but at least in some fashion it was done.
Those very important factors have been ignored. There is no greater proof of their importance than the results for rebadged cars. How else could the same car (LeSabre/Bonneville) have both the lowest and highest death rate in its class? The bottom line is we cannot tell whether the observed differences in death rates are due to demographics or the cars themselves.
Hence the report is generally useless (i.e., utterly unreliable) for comparing individual cars. It can be used though for comparing aggregates, such as large cars versus small cars. Such aggregates help to cancel out demographic differences and also reduce the statistical margin of error.
As far as the rebadged cars are concerned, I agree - I wouldn't put too much stock in the comparison. But, the vehicle differences may be more than meets the eye. Here are a couple of possibilities, aside from demographics, that may explain the death rate differences:
1. Are the option packages (i.e., side and curtain airbags, stability control) identical and are they sold in identical proportion for the model as a whole. This is a potentially critical difference.
2. Are the vehicles sold with identical tires? If not, there may be some influence depending on the relative difference in safety/traction performance.
Your point is well taken, particularly for the statistically-close vehicles, and thanks for making me look hard at the numbers, but would you really choose a Blazer over a 4Runner?
You're right that we'd be jumping to conclusions if we said one car was safer than other car that was just slightly worse in the statistics. That would be the reader's fault, not the statistician's. So let's work on coming up with the explanations.
We've all seen the crash test photos of the F-150 Crew Cab cabin collapse. That one shows that a variant of a vehicle can be much less safe than its other variants. The Mercedes A-class was prone to rollovers until stability control was added - that could account for differences in rebadges, especially where one brand is more upscale and likely to include stability control or side airbags.
Besides, we're supersticious in nature. If someone told me I could have either a LeSabre or a Bonneville, and more people had died between 2000-2003 in the Bonneville, I'd take the LeSabre...
However, chance aside, we are still left with the question of how much of the difference is due to demograhics versus the vehicles themselves. I would say the 4Runner is probably better than the Blazer, but how much better? .... I cannot tell. So, I agree, the data is not totally useless for individual vehicle comparisons.
As for the LeSabre/Bonneville, ABS, side airbags and DRL were standard and ESC optional on both. Note that differences in take rates on optional features is a function of demographics. A potential buyer would want to compare the safety of a LeSabre with (without) ESC to a similarly equipped Bonneville.
I would say the wear condition, proper inflation and rotation (i.e., demograhics-related items) have a much greater effect than the specific type of all-season tires originally sold on the LeSabre/Bonneville. Besides, many of the original tires had already been replaced. Replacement tire choice is yet another demographics-related item.
However, chance aside, we are still left with the question of how much of the difference is due to demograhics versus the vehicles themselves.
Which brings up the question of whether there actually are significant demographic differences among the buyers of comparable vehicles. Is the information publicly available detailed enough to allow for these determinations?
Thanks for the great discussion.
Camry and Mazda6 buyers differ in age and driving style. Volvo and BMW owners differ in age, driving style and geographic distribution. The distribution of Japanese vehicles is more skewed towards the coasts and metropolitan areas than domestic vehicles.
Vehicle registration data provides some of the information needed for these determinations. Other differences, such as driving style (aggressiveness, risk-taking, etc.) and maintenance levels are more difficult, even impossible, to quantify. However, that doesn't diminish their importance.
Roof cave-ins of SUVs and pickups first came to my attention with the Ford Explorer tire fiasco of a couple of years ago. At that time images of rolled Explorers with severely crushed roofs were plastered all over the news. As it turns out this roof-strength issue is not just a Ford problem, but can be found on many vehicles, but it is especially evident with pickups and SUVs.
Subaru has shown here that having a strong roof is not cost-prohibitive and that you don't have to have roof pillars as thick as building girders in order to be safe.
Camry: both good
Optima: front - good, side - not tested
Zephyr - both acceptable
RAV4 - both good
Tuscon/Sportage - both acceptable
None got the "best pick" awards.
My comments: this is bad news for Lincoln. A newly designed near-luxury vehicle should've gotten "good" in both categories. No excuses. Also, with all the money and effort Chrysler put into designing the Caliber, the "marginal" in the side test has to be viewed as a major failure.
At least the Caliber is way better than the Neon it replaced, which was marginal in the frontal test and poor in the side test, without side airbags.
It was marginal with the side air bags.
The problem was that the driver's torso was pummeled - no side thorax bags were in the tested car. Very few cars the IIHS has tested do well if thorax bags for the driver aren't included -- the Chevy Impala is one of these exceptions.
I had not noticed that detail in IIHS ratings before. I had only ever noted if they have side air bags or not, without really paying attention to the type(s) of bags.
Untrue. Rabbit/Jetta are class-leading in standard safety features, which include 6 airbags (2 more are optional), ABS with EBD and 4-wheel disc brakes, traction control, and active front head restraints. As noted, ESC is optional, very rare in this class (Corolla has optional VSC, but it's hard to find). Also, both the Civic and Elantra have more standard safety features than the Sentra. Civic and Elantra have standard ABS with EBD in all trim lines. Sentra only has ABS standard on the highest trim line. Additionally, Elantra has standard 4-wheel disc brakes on all trim lines. All these cars have 6 standard airbags and standard active front headrests.
I found it hard to believe that C/D rated the new Sentra last, behind even the old Corolla, in its comparo for December's issue. I can't wait to get it to find out why they would do that.
Isn`t it the same as a SL Sentra?
And we might not get ESP on the Sentra here in Canada, but well...
LAST? Well, it`s people`s tastes that are going to decide.
ps...... and yes it is true that the sentra has more standard safety features
The Jetta and Rabbit have excellent crash-safety scores--even without all 57 airbags. The new Sentra is untested. Have you found out how much it costs to add ABS to a Sentra 2.0S? Go configure one and see for yourself. It's not cheap.
Your saying that the Sentra has nore standard safety features doesn't make it true. It's not. It doesn't lead in optional safety features either. And it's easy to demonstrate those facts to yourself. If you care about the truth.
BTW, why in the world would you BEG someone not to buy a car like a Rabbit or Accent or Elantra? Do you get a cut on every Sentra sold (maybe on Civics too)? :surprise:
ABS (not a Pack - standalone) in Canada is standard on the 2.0S model, but it costs $500 on the 2.0. In the US it`s $600 but you get 16" + ABS. And yes that`s a lot for something that should be standard on every vehicle by now.
A base Rabbit vs a base Sentra in airbags will come 6-6. True the Rabbit has 2 additional rear side airbags, so that comes to 8. Pretty amazing!
Coming to buying... no I would not buy an Accent, or a Civic, Elantra or even Sentra, I`d take the Rabbit for it`s driving dynamics and german engineering. But again, that`s just me!
When I configured a Sentra 2.0S with ABS, not only did I need to select the ABS+alloys package, I also had to select the Convenience package. So adding ABS was about a $1200 bump--of course you get some extra stuff too.
I'd be driving a 2003 Altima right now, if 4 years ago I could have found a 2.5S, anywhere, with ABS.
It's even worse with VSC. Only on the 3.5's. Dang.
Also the Civic is in a lighter weight class, so frontal scores may not be comparable. There is a 450 pound difference in the weight of tested cars.
I wish they would add a frontal test that would be comparable across all cars. Maybe smash the thing they use for the side test into the front of the cars, for example.
I don't think that is true. You would be simulating a collision between the vehicle being tested and a second standard vehicle. This would make for a tougher test of small cars.
Maybe there is a discussion on the science of crash tests where we can continue this if you want to, so we can get back to the 2007 Sentra.
There is a discussion called: IIHS Picks Safest Vehicles
Can the host maybe move this there, so we can continue?