After a recent evaluation of new cars, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has awarded the 2013 Lexus ES luxury sedan, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport crossover, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and Dodge Dart compact sedan top honors, awarding each as Top Safety Picks.
Undergoing front, rear, and side collision tests as well as a rollover test and a new, tougher front overlap test, the four cars excelled. The IIHS pointed out that the Lexus posted significant gains from the prior model, especially in rear collisions where the prior model only scored a “Marginal” rating.
For 2013, the Lexus ES and the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport have been completely redesigned. The Subaru XV Crosstrek is a beefed up version of the Subaru Impreza hatchback—another IIHS Top Safety Pick—and the 2013 Dodge Dart is all new, replacing the mostly unloved Dodge Caliber hatchback.
In August, the IIHS began implementing the “small overlap frontal crash test” to its litany of evaluations, as cars rarely hit one another head-on. Overlap tests have been performed for years, but this method makes sure less of each car makes contact with one another, simulating more force hitting a more specific area. Of its first round of testing, the IIHS saw only three of 11 midsize and entry-level luxury vehicles received “Acceptable” or “Good” ratings. The 2012 Lexus ES was among those that received a “Poor” rating.
Engineers that worked on the Lexus ES can now rest easy, as their new car passed IIHS testing with flying colors, same with the automakers of the other three cars. As crash test standards become tougher, it will inevitably create more failures from cars that were thought of as highly safe just a few years earlier.
But more importantly, it will also make cars and trucks much safer overall in the long run.