Vehicles that scored worst in 2023 crash test

We all buy cars because we need to go to work, need to buy groceries or drive kids to school or sport events. It is simply great the feeling of freedom while going places. But, do car buyers pay attention to crash test rating before deciding on what car to buy? While some buyers are very well informed, many fail to recognize the importance of crash tests and where to access such information. Even while it’s not shocking, it’s nevertheless important for buyers to know when a car doesn’t pass with top scores. In this article we’re concentrating on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a U.S.-based organization that is well-known for its testing, particularly its Top Safety Pick and Pick+ awards.

Coach testing

It is a stand-alone, nonprofit organization with access to its own labs. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), a governmental U.S. organization, also conducts crash tests on vehicles. Transport Canada mostly depends on the outcomes of those two tests, as well as some testing at a Quebec facility that is run by a contractor for the government and is owned by the latter.

Test procedures

The IIHS purchases automobiles from dealerships for testing. When an automaker wants a test on a vehicle that isn’t on the IIHS schedule, the IIHS spends its own money, but the automaker reimburses the cost of the vehicle. In the lab, either the barrier is drawn into the vehicle at the proper speed, or the opposite is done. The injuries that the crash dummies show are those that a real passenger would have experienced. The car is evaluated for side crashes, small- and moderate-overlap front crashes, headlight performance, seatbelt reminders, child-seat tether ease of use, and pedestrian recognition for emergency front braking in both day and nighttime driving conditions. The front tests are “overlap” tests since most frontal collisions in the real world only include part of the vehicle’s front and not a full head-on collision. Vehicle crashes can be performed sometimes at different speeds, just to see the severity of damage at certain speeds but crashes usually never exceed 65 km/h. What does that mean? It means that manufacturer know that speeds over 65 km/h are so severe that serious injuries will occur with possible fatal outcome. But even if we put the outcome to the side, cars need to pass the tests in order to be homogenized and be allowed to go for sale. Government sets here the bar.

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Crash test

Why do some cars have poor crash test rating while others have great results?

This question becomes more important as the technology advances, cars get faster and bigger. There are many factors why some cars don’t get the best ratings, some of those factors are the size, materials and technology used and amount of money car manufacturers spend in research and development. There are many other factors but these are the most important ones. Every car manufacturer races against time when developing a new vehicle. Before any vehicle goes to manufacturing facilities and finally to consumers, research and development of vehicles last about three years and each model costs about a billion dollars to develop. A time and money consuming engine that will dictate if a vehicle model brings in profit or not. Every micrometer of developing vehicle is under enormous engineering changes, improvements, reconstruction and compromises between different engineering teams and management guidelines. For instance, fuel consumption team wants a vehicle as light as possible while safety team wants better and heavier materials, water proofing team wants better seals and gaskets while aero acoustic team wants less seals and gaskets as those cause noise and vibration and so on.

Implementing better material, more engineering hours and more testing means the cars will be more expansive and profit is at stake. A car manufacturer is a balancing act between engineering and management. If management gets the upper hand, the cars will be more profitable yet less quality made, if engineering builds cars without cost oversight, there would not be any profit and that would be a bad business model.

READ MORE: Safest cars in Canada

What consumers want?

Consumers have many desires, from vehicle type, vehicle popularity, affordability, and safety. Smarter consumers will always demand better cars for less. Vehicle affordability is one of the biggest factors when buying a brand new car, yet safety rating should be at the very top. If a vehicle doesn’t perform well in crash tests and consumers still buy it because the look is great or it is a trendy car at the moment, this surely sends a bad message to car manufacturer.

Demanding better doesn’t always mean the product will be more expansive.

Family car safety

Crash test vs. reality

All crash tests in North America are standardized. All vehicles are tested with same scenarios and with same speed. Yet, are all scenarios same when we drive the car on the HWY. or on in the city, are small vehicles performing just as god as bigger ones? NO and NO. Every driving condition and every scenario is different and it could mean different outcome if a collision occurs. In most cases, bigger vehicles will win a head on collision simply because of the weight. Car manufacturers can’t test every possible scenario, but standardized crash tests are great indicators.

Cars that did not have satisfactory outcome

Please note that despite receiving Marginal or Poor results in the tests indicated, these cars had Good or Acceptable results in all other tests where they were evaluated.

  • Audi Q3 – Side: Marginal
  • Buick Encore – Moderate overlap: Poor
  • Chevrolet Equinox – Moderate overlap: Poor; Side: Marginal
  • Chevrolet Malibu – Side: Poor
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab – Small overlap: Marginal
  • Chevrolet Traverse – Moderate overlap: Marginal
  • Chrysler 300 – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Dodge Challenger – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Dodge Charger – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Dodge Durango – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Ford Escape – Side: Marginal
  • GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab – Small overlap: Marginal
  • GMC Terrain – Side: Marginal
  • Honda Passport – Side: Marginal
  • Honda Pilot – Side: Marginal
  • Hyundai Palisade – Moderate overlap: Poor
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – Moderate overlap: Poor
  • Jeep Renegade – Moderate overlap: Poor; Side: Marginal
  • Jeep Wrangler – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Kia Forte – Side: Poor
  • Lincoln Corsair – Side: Marginal
  • Mazda CX-9 – Moderate overlap: Poor
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – Moderate overlap: Poor; Side: Poor
  • Mitsubishi Mirage – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Nissan Altima – Side: Poor
  • Nissan Murano – Moderate overlap: Poor
  • Nissan Rogue – Moderate overlap: Marginal
  • Subaru Crosstrek – Side: Poor
  • Subaru Forester – Moderate overlap: Marginal
  • Subaru Impreza – Side: Poor
  • Toyota 4Runner – Small overlap (original test): Marginal
  • Toyota Highlander – Moderate overlap: Marginal
  • Toyota Tacoma Crew Cab – Side: Marginal
  • Toyota Tacoma Extended Cab – Small overlap: Marginal
  • Volkswagen Atlas – Moderate overlap: Marginal


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