Cars That Have Passed the Small Overlap Front Test
A short while back, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) implemented a rigorous new test which the government safety agency dubbed the small overlap front test. Since the test was introduced, a growing number of automakers have struggled with passing it. Not surprisingly, however, out of all of the cars that have passed the small overlap front test, the 2014 Ford Fusion is one of them.
Before we get deeper into details about the Fusion, however, let’s take a closer look at the small overlap front test and delve into why it has proved so difficult for so many automakers. It all starts with what the test attempts to duplicate. During the test, 25 percent of the vehicle’s front end comes into contact with a rigid barrier while traveling at 40 mph. It mimics what were to happen if the corner of the vehicle were to come in contact with an unwavering obstacle such as a tree or a utility pole.
There are two factors that make the test difficult to pass. For one, as only a small percentage of the front end comes into contact with the barrier, the engine block isn’t able to absorb much, if any, of the impact. This puts the frame of the vehicle to the ultimate test. On top of that, the awkward collision angle forces the driver diagonally rather than forward or to the side. This really tests the airbags as both the front steering wheel-loaded airbag and the side curtain airbags must assist in protecting the driver.
If you’re not familiar with IIHS testing, allow us to explain what the new test addition means for the ratings that come from the agency. In the past, the Top Safety Pick rating was the highest honor, but now that the small overlap test has been thrown into the mix, the stakes have been raised. The most coveted rating is now known as the Top Safety Pick+ rating, and it’s reserved for cars that have passed the small overlap front test with a score of either “acceptable” or “good” as well as the highest rating of “good” in the other four tests.
As we said, the 2014 model of the Ford Fusion was able to pass the test with ease, which earned the mid-size car the Top Safety Pick+ rating, making it one of the safest cars in its class. Not every Ford vehicle has been put to the test by the IIHS yet, but we would imagine that more of the top safety ratings are on their way. To see how the rest of the models in the lineup fare in the small overlap test, be sure to check back here on the Matt Ford blog where we will be sure to provide you with more information as it is made available.
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