Luxury Cars Failing Crash Tests

By: Justin Leung on August 17, 2012

Driving along down the highway you think your car is built pretty solid and capable of protecting you in the worst case of an accident. Well think again.

The latest reports from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the U.S. have revealed most midsize luxury cars don’t live up to safety standards in a head-on crash. Since many of the same vehicles tested in the U.S. are popular in Canada as well, the results are important for any driver when picking their next car and getting it insured.

The test itself is coordinated in a way that demonstrates what happens when a car collides with another car or gets wrapped around a tree or telephone pole. The crash test hammers 25 percent of the car’s front end into a rigid barrier of 1.5 metres going a speed of 64 km/hr. The results of the tests don’t bode well for the safety records of many world renowned car companies including many most people wouldn’t assume as having a problem with safety.

Many of the luxury names from Mercedes and Lexus to Audi and Infiniti were put to this test and not many reached the qualifying mark. Of the 11 cars put through the crash simulation, only the Acura TL, Volvo S60, and Infiniti G managed to earn good or acceptable ratings from the Insurance Institute.

On the flip side cars like the Mercedes C-class, Lexus IS 250, Audi A4, and Lexus ES 350 failed to receive anything above poor safety ratings. These makers pride themselves on their records for safety justifying their premium prices for both their brand names and quality vehicles; all vehicles put to the test were from the 2012 model year.

The tests showed one of the biggest flaws were the side airbags and their deployment in the event of a crash. The side bags are apparently not built for an off-centre frontal crash instead deploying best in T-bone crashes and in this case, they failed to go off in time or extend far enough to protect the dummy’s head.

Not only that the seatbelts in some of the models didn’t lock in tight enough to keep the dummy in place causing it to hit against hard surfaces like the dashboard. In the case of the Volkswagen CC, the front door was knocked completely off during the test questioning even more the safety of these vehicles.

The Insurance Institute says it is incorporating these new test results into its rankings for next year’s top safety picks on the road. Mercedes has said it will challenge the test results for its models out of concern it can’t claim good safety scores in its ads while Toyota who owns Lexus, accepted the results and praised the Institute for “raising the bar again”. But Toyota also mentioned it has more top safety picks than any other provider, up to what they claim is 17.