The Cadillac ATS and SRX, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Subaru Legacy and Outback, and Volvo S60 and XC60 are the first vehicles to earn top marks in a new safety-testing regimen from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Institute’s new ratings program shifts the focus from crash protection to crash avoidance by analyzing the performance of forward-collision warning and automatic-braking systems.
Forward-collision warning—now also a recommended technology of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—can alert drivers when their vehicles are closing too quickly on potential road obstacles, while the autobrake setups can automatically provide braking support to help mitigate front-end collisions. According to IIHS research, both technologies have proven effective at “helping drivers avoid front-to-rear crashes.” Uncoincidentally, the Institute also has added forward-collision protection as a criteria for its 2014 Top Safety Pick+ honors, which also require strong performance in IIHS crash testing in small- and moderate-overlap frontal impacts, side impacts, and rollover scenarios.
Added David Zuby, chief research officer for the IIHS: “Front crash prevention systems can add a thousand dollars or more to the cost of a new car. Our new ratings let consumers know which systems offer the most promise for the extra expense.
Specific details about the Institute’s methodology can be found at www.IIHS.org, but the results of the initial round of testing, which included 74 “moderately priced luxury midsize cars and SUVs,” are on the next page.