• Jul 29, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Cruze Crash Testing – Click above for high-res image gallery

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is set to debut a new testing procedure for the 2011 model year that will make it more difficult for new cars and trucks to earn the government agency's coveted five-star safety rating. Just as interestingly, the recent influx of electronic safety gadgets, such as lane departure and collision warning, will be included in the testing regiment as well.

NHTSA will calculate one simple-to-understand grade for each vehicle based on how it manages to perform throughout the agency's testing. While the revised parameters promise to make safety-minded comparison shopping between new automobiles a bit easier, it also means that pre-2011 ratings will not be directly comparable to the new ones.

A total of 55 new 2011 cars, trucks and minivans (including the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze seen above undergoing GM's internal safety testing) will be tested by NHTSA with the new procedures, and the list is made up of both brand new models and some of the more popular nameplates Americans seem most likely to purchase in large numbers next year. You can check out NHTSA's official release and the initial list of what cars will be subjected to this new testing regime after the jump.



[Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]
Show full PR text
NHTSA Announces List of 2011 Model Year Vehicles to be Rated Under the New Government 5-Star Safety Ratings Program

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today announced the lineup of 2011 model year passenger vehicles that will receive new safety ratings under the agency's revamped and updated 5-star safety ratings program.

In all, 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans, and nine 2011 model year pickups will be rated under the new system that not only includes tougher crash tests, but, for the first time, provides consumers with a single overall safety score per vehicle. The new testing program will also provide consumers with information about new advanced crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems.

"The vehicles we are announcing today will be the first ones tested under the Department's tougher, more rigorous 5-star ratings program," Secretary Ray LaHood explained. "This new testing program significantly raises the safety bar for all vehicle manufacturers and will provide consumers with a great deal more safety information about the cars and trucks they want to buy."

"For over 30 years, NHTSA's 5-star crash testing program has been the gold standard for consumers looking to buy the safest cars on the market for their families," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Now, this great program has gotten even better by making it easier to compare the safety performance of vehicles not only in terms of crash survivability, but in terms of avoiding crashes in the first place."

Look for results of the 55 vehicles being tested under NHTSA's new 5-star safety ratings system to be posted on the agency's website, www.safercar.gov. When the new safety ratings become available, consumers will not be able to compare them to old ones since the testing criteria has changed. It will also be more difficult to achieve a high safety rating in this new program.



Passenger Cars

Manufacturer

Make

Model

BMW

BMW

5 Series

Chrysler

Dodge

Caliber

Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz

C-Class

Ford

Ford

Fiesta

Ford

Ford

Fusion

Ford

Ford

Taurus

GM

Chevrolet

Cruze

GM

Chevrolet

Malibu

GM

Buick

Lucerne

Honda

Honda

Accord

Honda

Honda

Civic

Hyundai

Hyundai

Sonata

Kia

Kia

Forte

Kia

Kia

Optima

Mazda

Mazda

Mazda3

Nissan

Infiniti

M37

Nissan

Nissan

Altima

Nissan

Nissan

Sentra

Nissan

Nissan

Versa

Toyota

Toyota

Camry

Toyota

Toyota

Corolla

Toyota

Toyota

Prius

Volkswagen

Audi

A4

Volkswagen

Volkswagen

Jetta

Vans

Manufacturer

Make

Model

Honda

Honda

Odyssey

Toyota

Toyota

Sienna

Sport Utility Vehicles

Manufacturer

Make

Model

Chrysler

Jeep

Grand Cherokee

Ford

Ford

Edge

Ford

Ford

Escape

GM

Chevrolet

Tahoe

GM

Chevrolet

Traverse

GM

Chevrolet

Equinox

Honda

Acura

MDX

Honda

Honda

CR-V

Honda

Honda

Pilot

Kia

Kia

Sorento

Kia

Kia

Soul

Nissan

Nissan

Murano

Nissan

Nissan

Rogue

Subaru

Subaru

Forester

Subaru

Subaru

Outback

Toyota

Lexus

RX350

Toyota

Toyota

Highlander

Toyota

Toyota

RAV4

Toyota

Toyota

Venza

Volvo

Volvo

XC60

Pickup Trucks

Manufacturer

Make

Model

Chrysler

Ram

1500 Crew Cab

Chrysler

Ram

1500 Quad Cab

Ford

Ford

F-150 Super Cab

Ford

Ford

F-150 Super Crew Cab

Ford

Ford

Ranger Extended Cab

GM

Chevrolet

Silverado 1500 Extended Cab

GM

Chevrolet

Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

Toyota

Toyota

Tacoma Double Cab

Toyota

Toyota

Tundra Double Cab



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm guessing the Cruze didn't do so hot in the "lets launch a car into a pole" test.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I can confirm that is the GM crash test facility in Milford, MI.

        Even though it looks like the Cruze didn't do well, trust me it performs very well and will be a top safety pick.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think those pics are from GM facility when they were doing their own testing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Won't this clash with the new CAFE requirements?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Correct me if i am wrong ,

      a cruze with more or near ~3200 means it's inferior to Hyundai Sonota as sonata is a Malibu competitor and Cruze should be at ~2800 lb class.

      conclusion derived from :
      Hyundai Sonota ~3200 lbs
      • 4 Years Ago
      Make it harder to achieve a rating most equate w/'safe', and the mfgrs will be forced to make heavier vehicles to comply w/the top rating. And make all these nanny gadgets (that only make up for bad drivers) seem necessary as well, adding even more weight. Making it near impossible to make efficient vehicles.

      But then, the NHTSA agency is never going to care about that. And our government is never going to understand the correlation with light vehicles and fuel efficiency.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let's see...we talk about 5-star test results and vehicle "crashworthiness".

      How's about we talk more about upgrading all the 2 and 3-star drivers and gain more "driverworthiness"? That might, just might, further reduce accidents and fatalities without adding a nickel to vehicle cost.

      I'll hang on to my daily driver '03 Mazda P5 with vital suspension and engine mods (no rice) to provide greater manuverability and performance when needed. I also have to thank innumerable track days with my Honda S2K, and years of amateur racing and autocrossing for keeping my response skills honed a hair higher than the average.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great! Here comes 4500lb sedans... :(
        • 4 Years Ago
        montoym:
        No. It's simple - NHTSA mandates stricter guidelines, so automakers put in more tech and, therefore, more weight. Since the vehicles are now heavier, they perform worse in crash tests, so NHTSA mandates stricter guidelines...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know about weight but most automakers could probably pass the new test without issue. They're just making it harder for everyone to score 5-stars. Models release in the last few years almost always score 5-stars which makes the test kind of pointless since all the cars will have identical or very similar scores.
        This just puts some differentiation back into the mix. Of course companies will compete so they'll all try to get 5 star ratings again, but companies also have to compete for fuel economy so it's unlikely that they'll just slap steel everywhere.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was thinking that too.

        I read stricter testing guideleines and immediately more weight and cost popped into my mind.

        I wonder if we'll ever reach a point where our vehicles are deemed safe enough? Not 100% safe mind you, which is impossible, but safe enough.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ tekdemon
        There are around 2.5 million deaths in the USA annually and you're whining about 15,000? That is just 0.6%, BTW. Whoop-dee-doo.
        I'm sure none of those deaths were due to things like better headlights, better painted roads, improved tires, disc brakes, better handling, etc?
        Additionally, many of the driving deaths in the US are attributable to things like drunk driving. What if we treated the cause instead of the symptom and focused on more driver training instead of insisting on cars built like a tank?

        And as a consequence, we are all paying more and more for vehicles, wasting fuel and driving giant lumps of blah.

        Sorry, my newest vehicle is 18 years old. It is nothing special in terms of performance, but beats the driving feel of any comparable new car I have driven due in no small part to lighter weight and better outward visibility. I am sure you can continue to push for more crash tests, but it just pushes some of us farther from considering a new car purchase.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @tekdemon:

        Way to go way off track just to make a point.

        Who here mentioned anything about buying a 30+yr old car?

        My question to you is, what if someone was comparing a 2008 vehicle to a model designed for the new tests? What would be the stastical difference in the number of deaths from the current testing procedure to the new one(not one from 30yrs ago)? My guess is that they won't be statistically different and an '08 car is essentially just as safe as one designed for the new tests.

        It's just a way to keep from having every vehicle score 5 stars and thus defeat the purpose of the testing. But, the unintended side effect is that manufacturers now have to take into account the new test and will work to redesign their vehicles to score better on the new test which costs money and often adds weight as well due to stiffer structures. It's that or they risk a lower score which no manufacturer wishes to have. Yes, more exotic materials can be used to offset the weight, but at a cost to both the manufacturer and the consumer. It's not a free lunch.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Kia Forte ~2700 lbs
        Kia Soul ~2700 lbs
        Kia Sorento ~3700 lbs
        Hyundai Tuscon ~3100 lbs
        Hyundai Sonota ~3200 lbs

        All of the above vehicles are right in the middle or low end of their respective weight class and are currently top safety picks. It's called high tensile steel. You can use less of it and still have it be strong. Then there is utilization of aluminum blocks.

        Materials are advancing quickly and stuff like carbon fiber is starting to get close to being cheap enough to utilize in mainstream vehicles. I'd personally rather drive a safe "tank" than and death trap that gets good MPG. You can't save money on gas if you are dead.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I like how the whiners ignore that you're now almost 36% less likely to die in a horrible car accident than you in 1979. Auto accidents tend to kill younger people too, so the impact the number of human life years saved is even higher.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

        Every year 15,000 people now survive that would have died if cars were still like they were in 1979 (10,000 less deaths total but the population is 50% higher, so if cars were still 1979-style there would be ~50% more deaths). Or 5x the number of people who died on 9/11. That's 150,000 people over 10 years. In other words a heck of a lot of people.

        If you want to drive cars with safety technology circa 1979 you're still free to go buy an old car-they don't usually cost more than new ones unless you're after some crazy collectible vehicle. But you probably won't, because it's a dumbass idea.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @montoym

        That 1979 date come from when NHTSA's crash methods were designed I think. IIHS has been campaigning for years to have them overhauled because the testing procedure makes no sense. The side test is a joke compared to what IIHS do-the point of which is to spur manufacturers into designing safer cars which is why it's a severe test.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seems to me that it would be good policy to stop emphasizing crashworthiness - it's already at a very high level.

        We ought to give the auto makers a breather so they can concentrate their technical and financial resources toward developing more efficient automobiles?

        Face it, making them spend money on stronger and stronger (and heavier and heavier) structures takes away from their efforts on efficiency gains.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And as soon as cars all start passing the new safety standard, they'll make it more difficult again. And so on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have invented a way to make small cars safer in collisions.
      It will allow auto makers to make their cars lighter to help meet the new CAFE fuel economy rules.
      It will also help auto makers meet the new NHTSA side impact into a pole test.

      Electric vehicle range is very sensitive to vehicle weight, and my invention can enable substantial weight reduction. Less steel will be needed to protect passengers.

      www.safersmallcars.com

      The invention has been granted US patents 7,695,018 and 7,699,347.
      Please help me promote this invention that can save fuel and lives.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One of the latest saleperson "disinformation about the competition" .. is to imply as car that passed with the old standard is safer then one that failed in the new standard.

      Had a lady tell me she was going to go with honda because the kia failed a roll over test. Turned out the Kia was one of the first tested with the new rating system and got a very good score, but not perfect. So the Honda has yet to be tested; and I bet it will be the same or lower when it does.

      Anyway -- she believes implicitly whatever honda says.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I suggest people to read "A Nice Morning Drive" by Richard S. Foster. It was the inspiration behind the song 'Red Barchetta' by Rush, and is a pretty good representation of the direction of vehicle safety in America.
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