IIHS Bashes Bumpers on Mid-Size Sedans

By Editors on August 7, 2009 7:20 AM
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just released results from its latest round of low-speed bumper testing, which was performed on six mid-size sedan models. Although repair costs for four of the vehicles evaluated went down, two suffered even pricier impacts than did their predecessors and only one managed to record an acceptable rating. The IIHS bases its scores on the total dollar damage incurred as the result of a four-test regimen that includes flush front/rear impacts at six mph and front/rear corner impacts at three mph. A vehicle's weighted-average for repairs must run less than $500 to earn it a "good" rating, come in under $1,000 for an "acceptable" mark and cost less than $1,500 for a "marginal" score. Anything over that level automatically nets a "poor" mark. This time around, the IIHS tested the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6 and Nissan Maxima as well as the 2010 Ford Fusion. Of that group, only the Mazda6 could manage even an "acceptable" mark based on its $871 weighted-average damage figure. As such, it became only the fourth vehicle tested using this grueling regimen to achieve that status, joining the Ford Focus, Scion xB and smart fortwo. One step down, the Accord ($1,133) and Sonata ($1,265) netted "marginal" scores while the Maxima ($1,687), Fusion ($2,207) and Malibu ($2,339) all ranked "poor." In commenting on these results, IIHS senior VP, Joe Nolan, noted that: "Consumers buy mid-size cars for practical reasons. There's nothing practical about a $1,000-plus repair bill after a minor bump in commuter traffic."
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