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5 New Mid-Size Luxury Cars Score Well in Crash Tests

From Associated Press

Five new mid-size luxury cars have received high marks in recent crash tests conducted by the insurance industry.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the Volvo S80, Cadillac Catera, BMW 328i, Saab 9-5 and Audi A6. The BMW, Volvo and Cadillac were rated good, with the BMW also garnering a “best pick” designation. The Saab and Audi were deemed acceptable.

The 2000 models of the cars were tested by running them at an angle into a barrier at 40 mph. The institute’s tests are particularly demanding because only the driver’s side of the vehicle strikes the barrier, forcing a relatively small portion of the vehicle to absorb the crash energy.

The tests examine how the car holds up structurally in the crash and any damage to test dummies, then rates the vehicle good, acceptable, marginal or poor.

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The federal government’s crash tests involve driving vehicles into a rigid barrier with the full width of the front end making contact. The government had not tested the five luxury vehicles because it focuses its resources on more popular and less expensive models.

Brian O’Neill, the institute’s president, said that, while air bags and seat belts can help prevent serious injuries, the key to performing well on the test is a good front-end design that absorbs crash energy.

“It’s the same concept as a fragile object. It doesn’t matter how well it’s protected by foam or other packaging inside a box; if the box gets seriously damaged during transit, the object inside is likely to break,” he said.


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