Small overlap front crash tests continue to show weak points in safety

2014 Buick Regal GS AWD vs 2014 Volvo S60 Platinum AWD
Buick Regal GS and Volvo S60

Consumer Reports has updated their much vaunted ‘Recommended’ list with some very interesting changes.

First, the good news: Buick and Volvo have recently won over the staff at CR with their updated drivetrains, putting their Regal and S60 models near the top in the sport sedan class against the Mercedes-Benz C250 and BMW 328i.

The consumer watchdog likes the new 259 hp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder in the 2014 Buick Regal due to its increased performance and improved fuel economy. They also highlight an updated interior – including a new infotainment system and reworked controls – as a main factor in pushing the Regal up to a second place rating beside the Mercedes.

Volvo’s S60 also benefits from upgraded drivetrains for the 2015 model year. Dubbed Drive-E, CR states the upgrade “transforms the S60 into a much more enjoyable and compelling car” but does take marks off for an overly firm ride lacking the handling chops of its competitors.

Comparison Test: 2014 Buick Regal vs 2014 Volvo S60

On the other end of the spectrum, small cars are having a hard time with small overlap front crash tests, causing some models to lose their ‘Recommended’ ratings.

IIHS gave 12 small cars the small overlap test treatment and only one – MINI Cooper Countryman – drove away with a ‘Good’ rating from the insurance body.

Other vehicles tested included the Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S, and Subaru BRZ, which all received ‘Acceptable’ ratings. However, the Hyundai Veloster, Scion xB (both receiving ‘Marginal’ scores), Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Nissan LEAF (which received ‘Poor’ scores) failed to impress.

CR responded to the crash test results by removing two of their previous ‘Recommended’ models from the list: Mazda5 and Nissan LEAF. However, what we find incredibly surprising is seeing the Fiat 500L in the ‘Poor’ category, considering it’s one of the newest models tested.

2014 Nissan LEAF (IIHS Small Overlap)

2014 Nissan LEAF (IIHS Small Overlap)

2014 Mazda 5 (IIHS Small Overlap)

2014 Mazda 5 (IIHS Small Overlap)

[Image credit: Jeff Wilson/Dan Heyman, IIHS]

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