The frontal crash simulates just a small overlap between the front of a car and an object or vehicle it hits. It involves just 25 percent of the width of the vehicle, concentrating the force on essentially the left front corner. The tested vehicles plow into a five-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph.
To distinguish good performers, the IIHS added a "+" to the Top Safety Pick award for those models that earn a Good or Acceptable rating in this rigorous, new test, in addition to receiving Good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, rollover, and rear tests. The Civic coupe and sedan, Dart, Elantra, Focus, and tC all earn the Top Safety Pick+ accolade.
Having done well in the other IIHS tests, the Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic, and Kia Soul all are Top Safety Picks. (See which vehicles earn the Top Safety Pick award for 2013.) But they don’t qualify for a TSP+. Opinions are spilt on whether this test brings an added benefit in terms of lifesaving potential. Regardless, automakers have rushed to comply with this particular test to avoid looking bad in the eyes of consumers. It’s surprising that a newly created car such as the Kia Forte did poorly in this test.
Learn more about car safety in our Crash Test 101 story, and view previous IIHS crash test videos.
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