The before and after pictures are a little more graphic than the stuff we usually post. But they tell the story of why the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt recently earned a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Bolt is the first all-electric vehicle to earn a 2017 award from the IIHS. It missed Top Safety Pick+ honors due to poor headlight performance.
The all-new electric Bolt is a new model for the Chevy 2017 lineup. Its cousin is the Volt but unlike the sedan, it doesn’t offer a backup gas engine.
IIHS puts models through 5 crash tests: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and the head restraints. Top Safety Pick models must earn a “good” rating on all five.
Vehicles that earn the award must also be equipped with a crash avoidance system that earns a “superior” or “advanced” rating. The Bolt scores “superior” with an optional forward collision warning system. The car avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph, and the system has a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.
While the Bolt scores well on the crash tests, it loses out on “+” on the higher Top Safety Pick + award because of “poor” headlight ratings. Neither of the two headlight options makes it out of the red. While they provide fair to good visibility they produce excessive glare for oncoming drivers.
IIHS researchers say headlights are an ongoing safety problem in the industry. The group is working to raise awareness of the problem and started adding headlight performance to testing criteria last year. The IIHS recently released results of new crossover SUV headlight tests and only two out of 37 make the headlight cut.
Here’s a look at the 2017 Chevy Bolt’s test ratings.