The United States' Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted the first-ever test program for a vehicle's frontal crash avoidance system. Of the 74 vehicles the insurance organization tested, seven were rated as having 'Superior' front crash prevention systems, while six were tagged as 'Advanced'.
The tests were conducted by determining how effective the vehicles braked at speeds of 12mph (20kph) and 25mph (40kph) while approaching a stationary target. The organization then rated as 'Superior' vehicles that had an autonomous braking feature "and can avoid a crash or substantially reduce speeds in both tests." For an 'Advanced' rating, a vehicle must have autobrake and avoid a crash or reduce speeds by at least 5mph (8kph) in one of the two tests, while a vehicle is given a 'Basic' rating if it at least has a forward collision warning system.
The seven vehicles that were given a 'Superior' rating by the IIHS are the Cadillac ATS sedan and SRX SUV, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, the Subaru Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, and the Volvo S60 sedan and XC60 SUV. Of the seven models, the only ones available locally are the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Volvo S60 and XC60. Unfortunately, the two Subaru models sold locally don't have the EyeSight system, the Japanese carmaker's name for its frontal crash avoidance system. As it so happens, the IIHS rated the two Subaru models as the tests' best performers by not hitting the target at both test speeds.
The six models that earned an 'Advanced' rating are the Acura MDX SUV, the Audi A4 sedan and Q5 SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, the Lexus ES sedan and the Mazda 6 sedan. Of the six models, only the Acura isn't available locally.
"Front crash prevention systems can add a thousand dollars or more to the cost of a new car," said IIHS chief research officer David Zuby. "Our new ratings let consumers know which systems offer the most promise for the extra expense."
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