If you’re in the market for a large sedan, some new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests may interest you.
Six large 2017 sedans just went through IIHS’s testing. Only three make the Top Safety Pick+ award list. The winners are the Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Toyota Avalon. The Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Impala, and Ford Taurus didn’t make the cut.
To qualify for the award, a vehicle must receive a “good” score in all five crash tests, offer a front crash prevention system scoring “superior” or “advanced”, and feature “good” or “acceptable”-rated headlights. Keep in mind the Ford Taurus does not offer an automatic emergency braking system.
The disqualifying models score “average” ratings on the small front overlap test. Yep, that test from 2012 continues to be a tough one. It’s designed to test front corner crashworthiness when you hit a side rail, tree, sign, or pole.
The new 2017 requirement for all Top Safety Pick+ models to score “good or “acceptable” headlights is also proving to be a challenge. All three disqualifying models ranked “poor” for headlights. Even the Avalon only scores average headlights and that’s after Toyota reworked the lights. Only the Continental and E-Class receive across the board green scoring with “good” headlights.
Remember, most automakers offer different headlights on different trims of the same model. But all E-Class headlight varieties earned “acceptable” or “good” ratings. Toyota’s improvements to the Avalon Hybrid Limited and Limited trim lights push them into “acceptable”. IIHS is using the headlight tests to push for improvements from automakers across the board.
Unfortunately for Tesla, this is the second time its Model S scores “average”, even with improvements. IIHS testers say the seat belt doesn’t hold you in place enough to keep your head from hitting the steering wheel all the way through the airbag. Researchers say Tesla tried to fix the problem, but the same problem occurred in the new testing.