The 2013 Chevy Cruze recently became the latest example of the industry’s newfound focus on safety basics—like seatbelts and air bags—when it debuted with an industry-first upgrade in the latter department. For the new model year, the Cruze now protects its drivers with a flexible venting air bag that is less complicated and less expensive than the dual-stage systems often found on the competition, yet is just as safe for occupants.
Conventional dual-stage front air bags can deploy with two inflation levels, one geared for low-speed crashes and one designed for high-speed scenarios. In the Cruze, there is just one inflation level, and the driver’s forward momentum pushes unnecessary air out of the bag through its flexible venting, while the unit still retains the pressure it needs to offer top-notch crash protection.
Uncoincidentally, at the same time Chevrolet was announcing its new flexible venting air bag, the brand also reported that the 2013 Chevy Cruze had earned a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—just as it had done in the two past model years as well.
“This new air bag technology is a smart way to manage crash forces, and is an integral part of Cruze’s continued success in safety testing,” said Gay Kent, GM general director of vehicle safety and crashworthiness. “The latest safety rating reflects the confidence we have in its new and carry-over safety technologies and overall crashworthiness.”
(The 2013 Cruze, which was the first compact car with 10 standard airbags, also has earned Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.)