• Jun 23, 2008


Click on the image above for pics of our uncrashed 2009 Acura TSX

The all-new 2009 Acura TSX was recently crashed into a barrier at 40 mph, and smacked with a side sled at 31 mph, by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). While the last model (2005-2008 with side airbags) scored "good" in frontal, and "acceptable" in side impact testing, the 2009 model received the highest scores ("good") in both tests. When combined with the improved rear crash test results (seat and head restraint design), the new TSX earned the Institutes's "Top Safety Pick" rating.

While our caps are off to Acura, we think it is time to revise all crash test standards (IIHS and NHTSA). Each time the results are released, we can't help but think that the automakers have learned how to ace the tests over the years. Let's bump up the speed in the barrier and sled tests (maybe throw a random angle in there to make things challenging?), and focus more on dynamic safety. As always, this team prefers to avoid the accidents in the first place.

[Source: IIHS]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Frankly, I think cars are safe enough. With $4 gas, we don't need cars to be any heavier (24 airbags, more steel reinforcement, etc, etc)

      All these safety features are doing is making drivers have a greater sense of invincibility in their car to do stupider stuff at greater speeds.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yup. A lot of talk at the IIHS is about expanding more into driver education and accident avoidance. Because it is rare that a car is generally 'unsafe' in an accident anymore.

        There is a lot of evidence that there are ways to save many more lives than just adding airbags.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Or maybe people can just learn how to drive in the first place. What the US requires to get a license is downright pathetic (not sure how it is in other countries).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Safe? We can't be to safe!

        Will someone PLEASE think of the children?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought these tests were conducted as per the most likely types if impacts vehicles see. The people who came up with the tests weren't a bunch of random guys sitting around a table drinking coffee, they were statisticians.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Autoblog please delete double posting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Of course it did well. It has that big shield on the front for protection!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm all for making cars safer, but not if it means making them heavier or vastly more expensive. In most cases, this is what we have been doing over the last 20 years. I consider our current trend of giant A-pillar blindspots to be a case of the cure being worse than the disease. Heavy lumbering SUVs that portend to protect your family with vault-like safety as people recklessly navigate the freeways at 90+ mph are not equipped to handle the evasive maneuvers required of them when something unpredictable happens. These are just a few examples.

      If we want increased safety, here are 3 ways to get it:

      1) Seatbelts with more than 3 points. Racers know this is key to survival, as the human body does not posses the strength to protect itself in a high speed crash, or even many low speed ones. The hurdle here is to make a 4 or 5 point belt that is as easy to strap on as today's 3 point restraint.

      2) Automated freeways. I love driving, but not when the freeways are clogged with traffic. Traffic that could be eliminated with chains of self-guided cars. This takes the human element of stupidity out of the equation, as there are simply far too many people on the road with just enough knowledge to get themselves killed--and maybe you too while they're at it. In fact, that just made me think of a 3rd:

      3) Gradated licenses. If you are a new driver, you get a low speed license limited to no more than 55mph. Behave yourself, and you get to step up to a faster one. Get into trouble, and you can ride public transit. None of this, "You can keep driving as long as you pay us" nonsense. We do not have the right to pay in exchange for risking other people's lives. If people want to keep their licenses, we need much more in depth driver training courses that teach hands on high speed avoidance maneuvers and will not let you pass if you do not understand the basic rules of the road.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Each time the results are released, we can't help but think that the automakers have learned how to ace the tests over the years. Let's bump up the speed in the barrier and sled tests (maybe throw a random angle in there to make things challenging?),..."

      Here's an idea: Have the IIHS hit the side of the car with an RPG. That'll give the automakers something to shoot for! All the extra armor and bracing will be good for gas mileage too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the idea of some dynamic testing. Real world accidents usually aren't some specifically weighted sled going some specific speed. They're at all angles, all speeds, and different shapes and sizes of vehicles.

      The tests now are nice for a general idea of safety, I think... but more tests could be done.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Michael Harley" is being *very* unprofessional, and shows why autoblog is just that--a blog. Without substantial evidence, you can't blindly accuse Acura or any other carmaker for "catering" their crash tests to IIHS. Plus, Acura needs to comply with Euro standards, too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "While our caps are off to Acura, we think it is time to revise all crash test standards (IIHS and NHTSA)."

        I don't see anything attacking Acura. Just the opposite, in fact.

        - Mike
        • 6 Years Ago
        There is substantial evidence that manufacturers are studying for the tests.

        For one thing, there has been a consistent pattern when a new NCAP or IIHS test is introduced. Initially, the majority of cars get low scores, but the situation changes rapidly within a few years. This suggests that most manufacturers do not pay attention unless there is a test, which is quintessentially studying for the test.

        The most recent example is the IIHS dynamic whiplash test, i.e., the rear crash test introduced in 2004. Only 9 of the 73 models initially tested earned the top score, and 5 of the top-rated models were from just 2 manufacturers, Saab (2) and Volvo (all 3 models tested). Now there are many models from several manufacturers that ace the test. Initially, all Honda/Acura models had the lowest score, but now they are all top-rated.

        Additional evidence is the fact that there are structural differences between versions of the same model sold in different countries depending on the tests performed in each country. There has even been at least one instance of structural differences between versions of the same model sold in the same country; specifically the previous generation Toyota Camry.

        The structure of the Camry with optional side airbags was enhanced to provide better protection to rear passengers, and it aced the IIHS side impact test. However, the enhancement wasn't applied to the version without side airbags; probably because cars without side airbags are sure to fail the test regardless.
          • 6 Years Ago
          CH: problem is, none of your cited examples prove that getting good marks from IIHS *doesn't* translate to a safer car.

          Will carmakers cater to IIHS ratings? Of course they will. Does that in turn translate to a safer car? Probably. But to say IIHS ratings mean nothing, or that they have no real-world meaning would *require evidence to substantiate*--which neither you nor Michael Harley has presented.

          To Michael: I appreciate the response, but you essentially play down the significance of IIHS before having your "caps off to Acura."

          "Acura passed a useless test, but kudos to them!" is what I get from your post, so it's hardly sincere. I think the TSX is ugly as sin up front, but to downplay ratings is stupid. If the ratings were so easy to cater to, then you'd think the Toyota Tundra would've passed with flying colors, given how much money they dumped into developing and marketing that truck.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think I'll take death over surviving with a grill like that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ha the front looks like an Eagle teething! In their infinite wisdom I am surprised Honda couldn't come up with something a little less hideous. I never did understand the "mustache" on the previous gen Accord either.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the only way to make them safer is to keep them in the garage. The cars are getting so heavy that the old Metro can do better then a modern Yaris or Fit. Also the TSX is really spelled UGLY, what are the thinking the whole line is ruined and the grill looks like a buck tooth beaver on ROIDS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They do raise their standards over the years as more cars get the highest grades.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hey anyone own an Acura ? check it out there's a new forum in town, it's still in it's beginning stages and yea, everything starts off with a hard struggle, help us out and be one of the first to be apart of a world wide phenomenon~!

      please register ~!
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      cheers
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