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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it's official. The TSX, along with the new TL and the new Nissan Maxima, were rated "Best Pick" in the latest IIHS frontal offset crash tests. They were shown on "Dateline NBC" this evening. In fact, the remark about the TSX after its crash was, "This is what we are looking for." IIHS's spokesman was referring to the fact that the interior cage of the TSX showed virtually no damage and was about the same after the crash as it was before it. It makes me feel more secure for the morning commute tomorrow!
 

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Great great news!

So, the bottom line about these tests is, the TSX did great on all the crash tests, but not so well on the bumper tests. Although, about those bumper tests, as we've noted, it's hard to know for sure if the TSX results really were as bad as they seemed, because apparently not enough of the new cars have been tested in order for it to be known where the curve is.

In any event, the crash tests would seem to be far more imporant. It's great to see that Acura once again has done its usual good thing.
 

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4548111/

MIDSIZE CAR CRASH TESTS

IIHS releases results for 40 mph offset crashes
By Lea Thompson
Dateline NBC
Updated: 7:24 p.m. ET March 21, 2004

For more than 12 years, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been crashing cars to see what works -- and what could work better. You might think by now there would be very little about cars and collisions that could surprise the Institute's experts. But these crash tests left even them shaking their heads.

Brian O’Neill: "Today, cars are much safer than they were when we started this program."

But even with all the major advances in vehicle design in recent years, there are still startling discoveries in this state of the art crash hall.

What you need to know first is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a non-profit group funded by insurance companies hoping to reduce claims. It buys cars right off dealers’ lots and crashes them - simulating what would happen if two cars of the same weight hit each other at 40 miles an hour. The Institute then rates each car a best pick, good, acceptable, marginal or poor.

This time the institute will test six midsize cars. First up is the redesigned 2004 Nissan Maxima, the brand new Acura TL, and the sleek-looking Acura TSX.

On the outside the TSX looks like a mess. But inside this car, like the other two, the lifesaving passenger compartment holds up.

O’Neill: “This compartment is essentially as it was before the crash. This is what we want to see. We're now seeing this more and more often.”

Institute president Brian O'Neill, says all three cars earn the institute's highest honor, "best pick."

Next up is the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The test dummy suffered minor injuries to the head and legs.

O’Neill: “The 2004 Malibu is a good performer but not a best pick. “

Then there's the redesigned 2004 Mitsubishi Galant.

O’Neill: “We recorded some moderately high forces on the dummy's right leg so there was a risk of

a leg injury in this crash.”

Still, there were only minor injuries at most. This Mitsubishi is much improved since its acceptable rating in 1999 and dramatically different than nice years ago.

O’Neill: “This is the '95 Galant from our first crash test program. You can see major collapse of the structure. Compare that with the 2004 Galant. Look at the difference in the safety cage of these two vehicles.”

The new Galant earns a "good" rating.

But there is a car that troubles O'Neill. It's the 2004 Suzuki Verona.

O’Neill: “The forces recorded on the dummy's when the had struck the b-pillar were off the charts compared to what we would normally see.”

That very hard impact could cause a serious head or brain injury. O'Neill pinpoints the source of the problem.

O’Neill: “Here we see this airbag really doesn't inflate until very late in the crash, throwing that head back violently.”

When the institute told Suzuki, it investigated and determined the airbag system was being miswired on the assembly line.

Suzuki corrected the problem and asked the Institute to retest the Verona.

O’Neill: “This is the original test. Partially inflated. The second test fully inflated already. Still only partially inflated here. Now we'll see this head get throw back violently. In contrast here we've got a properly inflated airbag. The head comes back with much less violence.”

With the fix, the Verona gets an "acceptable,” the second highest rating. Suzuki says the Verona meets all government safety standards, as do all of the other cars in this test. Suzuki is studying these latest results though and recalling all of the Veronas sold before the modification. If you own one, Suzuki urges you to get it to a dealer for repairs.

To recap, top honors go to the Nissan Maxima, the Acura TL and the Acura TSX. All three earn "best picks." Mitsubushi's Galant and the Chevy Malibu are "good," and the Suzuki Verona, after the airbag fix, is "acceptable."

O’Neill: “You're much safer in today's midsize car than you would've been in the '95 midsize cars that we first tested. We're not there yet but in a few years I think we can declare victory and say, we've achieved our goal."
 

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http://www.iihs.org/news_releases/2004/pr032104.htm

INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFTEY NEWS RELEASE
March 21, 2004

RESULTS OF NEW HIGH-SPEED CRASH TESTS:
FIVE MIDSIZE CARS ARE RATED GOOD AND ONE IS ACCEPTABLE;
STRUCTURAL DESIGNS IMPROVE COMPARED WITH OLD MODELS

ARLINGTON, VA -- In 40 mph frontal offset crash tests conducted recently by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, five of six new or redesigned midsize cars earned good ratings: Acura TL, Acura TSX, Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Malibu, and Mitsubishi Galant. Both Acuras and the Maxima also earned "best pick" designations in the frontal test. The only car tested that didn't earn a good rating was the Suzuki Verona, which is rated acceptable.

The Institute has tested previous designs of the Galant, Maxima, and Malibu. In each case the performance of the new model improved.

Vehicle ratings reflect performance in 40 mph frontal offset crash tests into a deformable barrier. Based on the results, the Institute rates each vehicle from good to poor. If a vehicle earns a good rating, it means that in a real-world crash of similar severity a driver using a safety belt would be likely to walk away with little or no injury.

"These results show how automakers have improved the structural designs of vehicles to protect occupants better in serious frontal crashes," says Institute chief operating officer Adrian Lund. "Designing a vehicle for safety is much like shipping a fragile object. First the box needs to be strong enough to keep from being crushed in transit. Then damage to the object can be prevented by styrofoam or other energy-absorbing materials. In the same way, a car's safety cage first needs to be strong, and then the restraints can effectively protect the occupants."

Crash test reveals airbag problem in Suzuki Verona: The Verona was tested twice. The first test revealed a major problem with the driver airbag, which was only partially inflated during much of the crash. Then late in the crash the airbag fully inflated, throwing the dummy's head violently backward into the door pillar. Very high injury measures were recorded on the dummy's head during this impact. Suzuki engineers subsequently determined there was a manufacturing defect -- the airbag inflation module was improperly wired.

"What happened in the first test of the Verona led Suzuki to identify a serious safety-related defect, which was fixed for cars in production. All models produced earlier were recalled. When we tested a second Verona with the defect fixed, the airbag deployed correctly," Lund says.

The Verona's structure held up well in the Institute's frontal offset test. However, "the driver seat pitched forward slightly and tipped toward the door," Lund points out. "Forces recorded on the dummy indicated the likelihood of leg injuries. This is why the Verona didn't earn the Institute's highest rating of good."

Mitsubishi Galant improves: Compared with its two predecessor models, the new Galant is a good example of improved structural design.

"The 1995 Galant was one of the worst performers in the frontal offset test," Lund says. "The occupant compartment virtually collapsed, the dummy moved to the left of the deploying airbag, and the windshield frame was driven back toward the dummy's head. Plus the dummy's left knee crashed through the dashboard and hit the steering column assembly."

When the Institute tested a redesigned 1999 Galant, its structure had been improved, and it earned an acceptable rating. Still there was moderate rearward movement of the instrument panel and intrusion into the driver footwell area that could lead to lower leg injury.

"The structure of the 2004 Galant was much better," Lund says. "The space around the driver dummy was well maintained, and there was minimal intrusion into the occupant compartment. The possibility of a lower right leg injury kept the Galant from earning the added designation of ‘best pick' in the frontal test."

Once rated poor, Nissan Maxima now is a "best pick" in the frontal test: The 1995 Maxima was rated poor. It was one of the few cars the Institute tested that year with high injury measures on both legs. Even though the car's structure was rated acceptable, there was moderate intrusion into the footwell area.

"The 1995 Maxima's driver seat came loose on its tracks, slamming the dummy's legs against the instrument panel. We had to use tools to open the driver door," Lund points out. The redesigned Maxima for the 2000 model year was a better performer. The safety cage was reasonably well maintained, and measures recorded on the dummy's head, neck, and chest indicated low risk of injury. Still there was too much intrusion into the footwell area, with high forces on both legs.

"The 2004 Maxima is a big improvement. It's a good performer and a ‘best pick' in the frontal test," Lund says.

Chevrolet Malibu improves from acceptable to good: "The structure of the old Malibu held up reasonably well, but the dummy's head hit the inside of the door below the window sill and then contacted the roof pillar beside the driver seat," Lund says. "The steering wheel also moved upward, which can reduce the protection of the seat belt and airbag."

The performance of the 2004 Malibu improved compared with the 1999 model. There was minimal movement of the instrument panel and steering wheel. The occupant compartment did a good job of preventing major intrusion during the test. However, the possibility of head and leg injuries kept the Malibu from earning the "best pick" designation in the frontal test.

"These new and redesigned midsize cars are performing much better in our offset test, compared with just a few years ago." Lund concludes. "In fact, no current midsize car designs are rated marginal, and only one earns the Institute's lowest rating of poor -- the Pontiac Grand Am and its twin, the Oldsmobile Alero. This design dates back to 1999."

Institute and government crash tests complement each other: The Institute's crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of frontal offset crash tests at 40 mph. Each vehicle's overall evaluation is based on three aspects of performance -- measurements of occupant compartment intrusion, injury measures from a Hybrid III dummy positioned in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.

The federal government has been testing new passenger vehicles in 35 mph full-front crash tests since 1978. This New Car Assessment Program has been a major contributor to crashworthiness improvements -- in particular, improved restraint systems in new passenger vehicles. The Institute's offset tests, conducted since 1995, involve 40 percent of a vehicle's front end hitting a deformable barrier at 40 mph. This test complements the federal test involving the full width of the front end hitting a rigid barrier. Both tests are contributing to improvements in crashworthiness -- in particular improved crumple zones and safety cages.

The same 40 mph offset crash test is used to evaluate new cars by the European Union in cooperation with motor clubs, by an Australian consortium of state governments and motor clubs, and by a government-affiliated organization in Japan.
 

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Here's more info on how the vehicles fared:

Crashworthy? Crashworthiness refers to how well a vehicle can protect people in an accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has evaluated important aspects of the crashworthiness of vehicles via a 40 mph frontal offset crash test. Choose a vehicle below to see how it rated against its peers.

2004 Acura TSX
Overall evaluation: Good
Structure/Safety Cage: Good
Head/Neck: Good
Chest: Good
Left leg/Foot: Good
Right Leg/Foot: Acceptable
Restraints/Dummy Kinematics: Good

2004 Acura TL
Overall evaluation: Good
Structure/Safety Cage: Good
Head/Neck: Good
Chest: Good
Left leg/Foot: Good
Right Leg/Foot: Good
Restraints/Dummy Kinematics: Good

2004 Suzuki Verona
Overall evaluation: Acceptable
Structure/Safety Cage: Good
Head/Neck: Good
Chest: Good
Left leg/Foot: Marginal
Right Leg/Foot: Poor
Restraints/Dummy Kinematics: Acceptable

2004 Nissan Maxima
Overall evaluation: Good
Structure/Safety Cage: Good
Head/Neck: Good
Chest: Good
Left leg/Foot: Good
Right Leg/Foot: Good
Restraints/Dummy Kinematics: Good

2004 Chevy Malibu
Overall evaluation: Good
Structure/Safety Cage: Good
Head/Neck: Acceptable
Chest: Good
Left leg/Foot: Good
Right Leg/Foot: Acceptable
Restraints/Dummy Kinematics: Good

2004 Mitsubish Galant:
Overall evaluation: Good
Structure/Safety Cage: Good
Head/Neck: Good
Chest: Good
Left leg/Foot: Good
Right Leg/Foot: Marginal
Restraints/Dummy Kinematics: Good
 

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Great results!

I think many will agree that TSX owners out there are letting out a huge sigh of relief.

I'm sure most people fully expected the TSX to do well on this test but after the low speed bumper impact test results, people had to be a little concerned.

I hope that I never have to experience these great crash test results in real-life, but it's good to know that it's there when I need it.
 

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Well.

Now I'm confused. Actually I think I'm not, but the media are confusing me, so I guess I am.

On another thread, tsxclub was talking about frontal crash tests.....

http://www.tsxclub.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1371

.....and I said I thought he actually meant "frontal offset" since it seemed it was the same tests and results as what we have on here, and I said "frontal" crash tests are different.

But now I'm wondering, because I've seen two features about this on network news, and both times they showed what looked an awful lot like straight-frontal crashes while they were talking about it. So, I don't know. But my guess still is that they ARE different, and that what tsxclub was talking about was the same tests as these. (And that maybe the networks were just showing the wrong crashes.)

ANYWAY.....these great results for the TSX have been getting A LOT of media attention, far more than those bumper tests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The thing to remember about the frontal crash tests is that NHTSA does the straight-on frontal test and IIHS does the offset frontal test. Sometimes from the camera angle it can look like the IIHS test is straight on, but it isn't. If a car does well in both tests, as the TSX has done, then it is about as crashworthy as can be expected.
 

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this is good news.
 
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