5 On Your Side

Study Shows Mid-Sized Cars Getting Safer

Posted April 10, 2008

— Mid-sized cars are getting safer, in part due to protection from side airbags, according to a new study released Thursday.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested seven mid-sized cars, both moderately priced and luxury. The cars tested were the Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Infiniti G35, Kia Optima, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima and Saturn Aura.

All of the vehicles, except for the Kia Optima, earned the top rating for side-crash protection. The ratings are a huge improvement over the last time mid-sized cars were checked. The difference is likely because side airbags are now standard in many vehicles.

All seven cars earned the highest rating for front crashes.

Results in rear-crash tests varied, mainly because of head restraints. Only the Kia Optima earned the top rating of "good" for its seat and head restraint system, which is key for minimizing whiplash injuries. Five vehicles were rated marginal or poor for their seat/head restraint combinations.

David Zuby, the institute's senior vice president, said the side-impact results are a huge change from four years ago.

"In 2004, we tested 10 mid-sized, moderately priced cars, and all 10 were rated poor in their standard configurations without side airbags."

During the 2004 tests, only the previous generations of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu earned good ratings when tested with side airbags, which at that time were optional equipment.


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  • whatelseisnew Apr 11, 2008


    You beat me to it. Why just this morning, I thought I was towing the guy behind me. Kept a good close watch for the deer so I could try to avoid it if one ran out, cause I sure as heck was not going to hit the brakes. I can't figure this stuff out. I do want to get to work on time, but I really am not in that much of a hurry to get there.

  • bigredtruckman Apr 11, 2008

    It's good to see cars being engineered safer. Now if we can just get drivers to be better...