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Honda and Subaru come out on top in new crash test safety ratings

honda civic dieselA new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that Honda and Subaru are two of the safest car manufacturers currently on the road, with the Audi A4, Jeep Patriot, Kia Forte and a number of other cars failing to make the grade.

The report is based on tests carried out on 2014 models of a range of car makes and models, with 22 vehicles gaining the top rating of Top Safety Pick+. Of these 22, five were Honda models, while three were Subaru. The Civic 4-door, Accord 2-door, Accord 4-door, the Acura RL and the Odyssey took top spots for Honda; while the Legacy, Outback and Forester gained the highest possible rating for the Subaru brand.

In order to compile the report, the IIHS crashes each and every car, using both standard crash tests and a new test of the level of crash prevention technology featured by each vehicle.

The standard crash tests consist of five different elements. The Moderate Overlap Frontal Test judges the impact at 40 miles per hour, while a new Small Overlap Front Test, introduced in 2012, takes place at both 12 miles per hour and 25 miles per hour to score the performance of each vehicle in its ability to alert drivers to an upcoming frontal impact.

A Side Crash Test, Roof Strength Test and Head Restraints & Seats Test take the total to the five that are used by the IIHS, in addition to scoring vehicles on the presence of a front crash prevention system. In order to gain the highest rating of Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must gain a “basic” front crash prevention score, the highest score of “good” in the moderate overlap frontal test, side crash test, roof strength test and head restraints & seats test, and an “acceptable” rating or higher in the new small overlap front test. The performance of Subaru and Honda parts was evident in the latest set of ratings, with both brands gaining ratings in the slightly lower Top Safety Pick category as well as their Top Safety Pick+ achievements.

The new addition to the 2014 ratings is important, as studies show that front crash prevention systems can reduce the number of crashes by up to 15%. The new method of rating car safety sees 17 vehicles gaining the next rating down – Top Safety Pick – as they passed all of the crash tests but do not have these technologies in place. The IIHS have changed the rating system in order to show the importance and effectiveness of these new technologies, with the ratings so influential that major car manufacturers have changed their designs as a result of the tests. An example of this is the Toyota Camry which, after failing crash tests in the previous two years, had the front end completely redesigned to make it crash resistant.