New IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Explained

A total of eight Honda models were awarded one of the two coveted IIHS awards.

IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Standards

Here at Benson Honda, we spend a great deal of time discussing safety ratings on our blog. We feel that letting you know about the ratings is important because it’s reassuring to know that the vehicles you’re looking at, or have already purchased, are proven to keep you and your family safe. As we have said in recent posts, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently upped their safety standards, which means that a Top Safety Pick-rated vehicle is no longer the safest on the market. The new standards now mean that a vehicle awarded with a Top Safety Pick+ rating is the safest. So what exactly are the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ standards? Let’s take a look.

In the past, manufacturers only had to get their vehicles through four tests to receive the coveted Top Safety Pick. Earning the rating meant the vehicle had to achieve the highest score of “good” in tests which included: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Now that the standards have been upped, manufacturers must also get their vehicle through the difficult small overlap front test with a score of either “good” or “acceptable.”

The new test has been made to mimic what would happen if a small portion of the vehicle’s front end were to trail off of the road and come into contact with a solid object such as a utility pole or a tree. To replicate the situation, 25 percent of the vehicle’s front end on the driver side is slammed into a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

The test has been difficult for manufacturers to pass because the collision causes the driver to be propelled forward diagonally, rather than forward or to the side. There also is no chance for the engine to absorb the majority of the impact so a lot of vehicles simply crumble during the test. Passing the test means having an extremely strong frame and superior airbag technology.

The 2013 Honda Civic takes on the new small overlap front test.

Out of the 130 vehicles tested in 2013, only 39 vehicles were able to achieve either a Top Safety Pick, or Top Safety Pick+ rating. However, 2014 Honda safety ratings were impressive. Six different models were awarded Top Safety Pick+ ratings, and two were given Top Safety Pick ratings.

If you are interested in learning more about what Honda models met the new IIHS Top Safety Pick+ standards, be sure to check out the Benson Honda blog where we have a ton of information on safety ratings. We also have a great deal of information about new and upcoming Honda models such as the 2015 Honda Vezel.