March 14, 2002

Disappointing results for three small cars and a mini-van in IIHS low speed crash tests

Arlington, Virginia – In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the new Mitsubishi Lancer, Subaru Impreza, and Volvo S40 didn’t bump very well. Total damage sustained in four crash tests at 5 mph ranged from $2,515 to $3,169. The four tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are front- and rear-into-flat-barrier plus front-into-angle-barrier and rear-into-pole.

The Kia Sedona passenger van’s bumpers are even worse. This vehicle sustained more than $1,000 damage in each of the four tests at 5 mph. Damage in the simplest impact, front-into-flat-barrier, totaled more than $4,000. The big problem in the flat-barrier test was that the airbags deployed. Both driver and passenger airbags had to be replaced. The passenger airbag cracked the windshield during deployment so it, too, had to be replaced, as did the top of the instrument panel. The cost of these and other repairs came to $4,305. Airbags shouldn’t deploy in low-speed impacts because they aren’t needed, cost a lot to repair, and could harm out-of-position occupants. They should deploy in the equivalent of a 12 to 14 mph barrier crash

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