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IIHS rates Toyota Camry “Poor” in New Crash Test

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IIHS small overlap test of Toyota Camry

IIHS small overlap test of Toyota Camry.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the Toyota Camry a “Poor” rating on a new test measuring how well people are protected when the front corner of the car hits another car or object, as Associated Press reports.

AP writes that the Camry — the best-selling car in the U.S. — did well on the IIHS’s four other tests and garnered a “Top Safety Pick” rating, but it did not get a “Top Safety Pick-Plus” rating because of the “Poor” rating on IIHS’s new “small overlap” test measuring corner crashes. In addition to the Camry, Toyota’s Prius V gas-electric hybrid wagon also performed poorly on the new test, yet still earned a “Top Safety Pick” designation, AP notes.

The IIHS devised the new test after a 2009 IIHS study of vehicles with good ratings for frontal crash protection found that small overlap crashes accounted for nearly a quarter of the frontal crashes involving serious or fatal injury to front seat occupants, it says in a Dec. 20 statement.

The new test, conducted on 18 moderately priced cars, rates them on a scale of “Good,” “Acceptable,” “Marginal,” and “Poor,” Cheryl Jensen reports for The New York Times blog Wheels. In this test, 25% of a car’s front end on the driver’s side hits a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour, Jensen writes. She goes on to say:

Also in this test, the head and chest can fall into a kind of coverage gap, missing both the frontal airbag which is housed in the steering wheel and the side airbag meant to protect the head. The dummy’s head in the Camry, for example, hit the instrument panel even though both airbags deployed.

Toyota had a sneak peak back in August of how the Camry was likely to do when its luxury sibling, the ES 350 got a rating of Poor in the same test. Luxury vehicles were the first category of vehicles that the insurance institute tested.

The IIHS press release says: “Of the 18 midsize family cars evaluated in the small overlap test, two earn the top rating of good, 11 earn acceptable, three earn marginal, and two are poor.” AP writes that IIHS said moderately priced midsize cars outperformed midsize luxury cars in the new test, with the only midsize luxury cars to earn a “Top Safety Pick Plus” being the Acura TL and Volvo S60.

IIHS gave its “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating to 10 midsize cars in the moderate price range: Honda Accord, Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kashai, and the Volkswagen Passat, AP writes. Adrian Lund, IIHS president, said: “Toyota engineers have a lot of work to do to match the performance of their competitors.”

In a statement, Toyota said IIHS has raised the bar with the new test, exceeding U.S. government requirements, AP reports. “We are evaluating the new test protocols and can say that there will not be one single solution to achieve greater crash performance in this area,” the statement said. “Through November, Toyota has sold more than 373,000 Camrys in the U.S. It is the top-selling car in the U.S. almost every year,” AP notes.


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