Video: Subaru tops in safety

The 2013 Subaru Forester has become the first vehicle to ace every aspect of the challenging "small overlap front crash test" conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Forester was the only one of 13 small SUV's to earn an overall rating of 'good' in the test and was awarded the IIHS top safety pick.

FIVE PERFORMED POORLY

Joe Nolan, IIHS vice-president for vehicle research, said: “It’s what we envisioned when we were first developing this test. Subaru addressed the issues of structure; the issues of keeping the occupant engaged with the front air bag; keeping the steering wheel in front of the driver; deploying the side curtain air bag. All of those things, when they work together, they work very well.”

The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned an 'acceptable' rating The BMW X1, Honda CR-V, two-door Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue and Volkswagen Tiguan eached received an overall rating of 'marginal'.

The lowest rating ('poor') went to the Buick Encore, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Patriot and Kia Sportage (the last three available in SA).

The 11 vehicles rated 'marginal' or 'poor' lost out because the test-crash dummy’s movements were not well-controlled or because of a issue with the structure of the vehicle.

SMALL OVERLAP TEST


Absent from the test group was the new Toyota RAV4, which will only be tested later in 2013. According to the IIHS, Toyota “asked for the delay” so it could make changes “to improve” the car’s test performance.


According to the IIHS, the "small overlap test' is intended to replicate what happens when a front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or perhaps a road bridge. In the test, 25% of the vehicle's front end on the driver’s side strikes a 1.7m tall barrier at 64km/h. Since the impact is to the vehicle’s outer edge, it misses the main crumple-zone in the middle of the vehicle (which absorbs crash forces), increasing the risk of severe damage to the vehicle and its occupants.

Vehicles tend to rotate and slide during such an impact. The movement can fling a crash dummy toward the windscreen and front door (A) pillar.

The force can push the steering wheel, which contains an airbag, so far sideways that the dummy can fall into a gap between the steering wheel and the side air bag that is meant to protect the head.

Watch the video!

Small SUV safety ratings - Front small overlap

Ratings - G -Good, A - Acceptable, M - Marginal, P - Poor


Subaru Forester - G
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - A
BMW X1 - M
Honda CR-V - M
Mazda CX-5 - M
Volkswagen Tiguan - M
Buick Encore - P
Ford Escape - P
Hyundai ix35 - P
Jeep Patriot - P
Kia Sportage - P
Nissan Rogue - M
Jeep Wrangler - M
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