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Crash tests assess pedestrian avoidance technology

Six cars that earned IIHS's 'superior' rating

SAN ANTONIO – Days before Halloween, one of the deadliest days for pedestrian accidents, the Insurance Institute for  Highway Safety rated the pedestrian crash systems in mid-sized cars. Results were mixed.

Nearly 6,300 pedestrian fatalities were reported in all 2018.

Of the six cars that earned IIHS' “superior” rating, four were luxury model cars: the Audi A4, BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60.   However, two non-luxury cars, the Nissan Maxima and Subaru Outback, also earned the highest safety rating. To earn a “superior” rating, the systems had to dramatically lower the car’s speed and, in most scenarios, avoid the crash-test dummy pedestrian.  

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On the other end of the spectrum, three cars earned no credit for their systems because they failed multiple crash test scenarios, according to IIHS. Those are the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.

“The most challenging test we perform is a child entering the street from behind a parked vehicle,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “This is commonly called a dash or dart-out type of crash.”

The systems use cameras or sensors to scan the path ahead and automatically apply the brakes to avoid the pedestrian.

Superior-rated systems means they avoided crashes or slowed “substantially,” IIHS said.

  • 2019 Audi A4 (standard)
  • 2019-20 BMW 3 series (standard)
  • 2020 Subaru Outback (standard)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (optional)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Maxima (optional for 2019/standard for 2020)
  • 2019 Volvo S60 (standard)


Advanced-rated systems also saw major speed reductions, “though somewhat less consistently,” IIHS said.

  • 2019-20 BMW 3 series (optional)
  • 2019-20 Honda Accord (standard)
  • 2019-20 Lexus ES 350 (standard)
  • 2019 Mazda 6 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Altima (optional)
  • 2019-20 Tesla Model 3 (standard)
     

IIHS said these cars failed to slow significantly in one or more of the tests.

  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera only)
  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera and radar)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (standard)
     

IIHS said these cars failed to slow significantly in multiple test scenarios.

  • 2019-20 Ford Fusion (standard)
  • 2019 Hyundai Sonata (optional)
  • 2019 Kia Optima (optional)

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