2014 Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain Lead Midsize SUV Crash Test

Ryan ZumMallen on

Only two new midsized SUV models, the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, passed a recent crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS tested eight models in total, and only the Equinox and Terrain scored a Good rating; the highest available. None earned an Acceptable, three earned a Marginal and three were rated Poor.

The test in question is the small overlap front crash test, a test introduced by the IIHS over a year ago that simulates the kind of accident that causes about 25% of all serious or fatal accidents. Vehicles must earn a Good or Acceptable rating in this test to qualify for the TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation – the highest IIHS honor. So besides the Equinox and Terrain, who did well and who didn’t? more

NHTSA Will Require Standard Rearview Cameras By 2018

Ryan ZumMallen on

Four years from now, even the cheapest car on the market will come with a standard rearview camera. That’s thanks to a ruling from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this week, which mandates that all new vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs. must come equipped with rear visibility technology by May 2018.

The NHTSA expects this decision to save between 58-69 lives each year once the rule becomes fully implemented. This comes just weeks after a study found that drivers are safest when using rearview cameras compared to their mirror (though some of the findings were rather peculiar). Automakers are not likely to object to the rule, as most are already well on their way to outfitting entire fleets with the technology. more

NHTSA Closes Investigation Into Tesla Model S Fires

Ryan ZumMallen on

After two highly publicized fires in 2013 brought questions about the safety of the Tesla Model S, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week announced they have closed their investigation into whether the electric cars are unsafe.

The incidents occurred when both Model S drivers drove over something in the road, at a speed in which their optional air suspensions had lowered to improve aerodynamics. In both cases, the object pierced an aluminum pan along the undercarriage and damaged the lithium-ion batteries inside, leading to smoke and fire. After months of testing, Tesla announced they will fit titanium plates to the area to prevent future issues. Subsequently, the NHTSA closed its case. more

2015 Audi A3 Earns Highest IIHS Crash Rating

Ryan ZumMallen on

Just weeks ahead of its debut at dealerships around the U.S., the 2015 Audi A3 has been named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after passing all crash tests. TSP+ is the highest honor given out by the IIHS.

The A3 earned its new TSP+ status by scoring a Good rating in all five tests. It also scored an Advanced rating in the separate Front Crash Prevention test that measures available avoidance technology. It is the first Audi to be named either TSP or TSP+, and the first Audi to earn an Acceptable or Good rating in the small overlap protection test. more

2014 Safest Cars, SUVs and Minivans With IIHS Top Crash Ratings
Ryan ZumMallen on

Cars are safer than they ever have been before, thanks to new technology that ranges from crumple zones and high-strength steels to stability control and accident avoidance. But there will always be some that are better than others, and the crash tests and ratings administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are an excellent way to determine the cars that can best protect you in an emergency. That’s why we’ve used their findings to determine our annual list of the safest vehicles on the road for 2014.

Last year, there were more than 100 cars named an IIHS Top Safety Pick or more prestigious Top Safety Pick+, and 29 in the Small Car segment alone. This year, there were 38 cars named TSP or TSP+. Total. The rules have changed. Who has kept up with the times to offer the safest vehicles in America? Here are all of this year’s winners, with one car in every segment singled out as our top recommendation. All vehicles listed are an IIHS TSP, and TSP+ vehicles can be found in bold. more

Volvo Developing Driver Attention Systems
Stanley Yee on

Volvo, in their endless pursuit to create the safest vehicles possible, has been working on technology which will sense the attention that a driver is giving to the road. With modern technology already providing a host of distractions for the modern driver, it is about time that technology, ironically, works to solve the issue.

A series of sensors are being developed which will monitor variables like the position and angle of the heads of drivers, as well as how open their eyes are. In theory, this would not only detect drivers who are falling asleep, but will also alert drivers who are not paying attention to other cars on the road. The systems will even work together with Volvo's current driver assistance aids, intervening if a crash is likely. more

Honda, Subaru, Volvo Leads New IIHS Safety Ratings
Ryan ZumMallen on

New ratings criteria made for a much smaller field of vehicles named to the distinguished IIHS safety awards, released this week. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named 39 vehicles a Top Safety Pick or the ultimate Top Safety Pick+, down from a whopping 130 vehicles that earned the honor last year. So who came out on top?

Honda claimed the most honors, with four Honda vehicles and three Acura vehicles among the winners. As far as individual brands, Subaru had six vehicles honored while Volvo scored five. The top American brands were Ford and Chrysler, each with three. General Motors had one vehicle named. more

Nissan Versa Note Includes Advanced Tech For Entry Price
Adam Burpee on

In the coming years, Nissan has one goal in mind: Separating the wheat from the chaff. 

A month ago, the Nissan Versa Note went on sale in the United States, and despite the fact that it's one of Nissan's least expensive models, it featured an Around-View Monitor safety system. The Around-View Monitor allows the driver to see a bird's eye view of his vehicle in order to evade nearby obstacles. This is a bold but smart move on Nissan's part. By introducing advanced safety technology as a standard equipment in inexpensive cars, the automaker is essentially giving its competition two options: go big or go home. more

Will All Cars Have A Black Box By 2015?
James Deaton on

Black boxes, or event data recorders, may become mandatory for all new cars by 2015. About 96% of cars for the model year 2013 will already have them, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. more

Toyota Offers Safe Driving Program in Southern California High Schools
Adam Burpee on

Toyota has introduced a national driver safety program, The Road Ahead, to high schools in Southern California. more

Friday Five: Car Crash Sculpture Aims To End Speeding With Body Art (VIDEO)
Jerry Smith on

The Motor Accident Commission of South Australia (MACSA) put together a safety campaign that’s designed to change public attitudes about what it calls “low-level speeding.” It took 18 hours and 17 people with up to five layers of body paint to make the final print ad. Here’s a video showing the process. more

Goodbye V8, Hello Mustang, The Dog Ate My Keys, and Safest Volvo - Video
Jerry Smith on

The V8, the engine that gave birth to America’s hot-rod culture, is fast disappearing from cars all over the world. The culprit is ever-tightening emissions standards, which are forcing automakers to turn to smaller-displacement powerplants. Even luxury marques like Infiniti are feeling the bite. The company’s president recently told an Australian motoring website that people shouldn’t expect to see V8s in any of the cars currently on the drawing board. In place of the V8, many manufacturers are going with V6 engines, or turbocharged four-cylinders.

On the heels of Chevrolet signing on to become the sponsor of England’s Manchester United football (soccer to Americans) club in 2014-2015, and subsequent to the carmaker’s offer of luxury cars to all first-team members, Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson has put the brakes on players under the age of 23 ordering anything sporty, like, say a Corvette. Players under the age limit can still avail themselves of Chevy’s offer, but only if Ferguson approves their choice. more

Auto News & Videos: Pikes Peak, Rally, and F1 Lincoln Tunnel Red Bull Run
Jerry Smith on

Luke Skywalker, your racecar is ready. Actually, this is “Monster” Tajima during a practice run for the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The car is all-electric, and the absence of engine noise lets you hear the squeal of the tires in corners, and the gravel pinging off the bodywork as Tajima gets too close to the edge of the pavement.

Luxury cars come equipped with the best of everything—at least that’s the theory. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says some luxury cars don’t come with enough protection in a new test that evaluates a car’s crashworthiness by slamming it into a fixed barrier so that only part of the front end absorbs the impact. Eight 2012 model luxury or high-end cars were rated as marginal or poor in the test. Acura TL and Volvo S60 were the only cars to pass the new test.

What if the famous tunnel that’s part of a lap at the famous Monaco GP were longer? Say, 1.5 miles? How fast would a Formula 1 car get up to in that distance? About 190, if this video is any indication. That’s how fast ex-F1 driver David Coulthard took the Red Bull Racing Running Showcar through the Lincoln Tunnel that links New York and New Jersey. The tunnel, by the way, is just over 21 feet wide.

The test drive, long a highlight of the car-buying process, is fading away as more and more buyers choose cars based solely on magazine and website reviews, and buy them without ever driving the car first. This trend worries dealers, who see the test drive as their most effective tool for swaying undecided buyers, and also point out, apparently with a straight face, that you can’t always believe what you read, in contrast to what you hear from car salespeople, who are renowned for their unflagging honesty, integrity, and detailed product knowledge. more

Acura TL and Volvo S60 Pass New Crash Test, Other Luxury Cars Don’t
Ryan ZumMallen on

The Acura TL and Volvo S60 were the only two out of eleven luxury cars to pass a new crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with a “Good” rating, including the ones that earned positive reviews in traditional frontal crash tests.

The new test simulated a 40 mph crash where the corner 25-percent of the car strikes a five-foot tall object, such as a signpost or wall.

The IIHS calls this the small overlap frontal crash test. In a 2009 study, the IIHS test found that small overlap crashes account for nearly a quarter of frontal crashes involving serious or fatal injuries to front passengers.

"Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year," said IIHS President Adrian Lund.

So then what took the IIHS so long to start this test? more