• Oct 5, 2010
Click above for safety ratings of all 30 vehicles tested under NHTSA's new crash test rating system

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it would be revising its well known five-star crash test rating system for 2011 model year vehicles. This new series of tests, called the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) makes it more difficult for manufacturers' vehicles to achieve the administration's prestigious five-star safety rating, which they had been doing a bit too easily in recent years. Also, the latest round of new safety technologies – collision warning, lane departure warning, etc. – are now being tested, and a new pole side crash test has been added to the gauntlet that also includes old favorites like the frontal barrier, side barrier and rollover tests. Finally, NCAP gives vehicles an overall rating that combines their star ratings in each of the three major categories (front, side and rollover), which makes marketing the results much easier for automakers whose vehicles score well.

Since the announcement earlier this year, NHTSA has been busy testing some 30 vehicles using NCAP and released its results this morning. The full results are available after the jump, but it should be noted that these new ratings are not comparable with ratings for any 2010-11 model year vehicles rated using the old system.

2011 Nissan Versa pole crash testBecause the NCAP is more rigorous than the prior system, most of the 30 vehicles tested have seen their star ratings drop. In fact, the only two 2011 models to retain five-star safety ratings are the BMW 5 Series and Hyundai Sonata, and the latter only after Hyundai tweaked the sedan and resubmitted it for testing. While most vehicles tested using NCAP returned four-star overall ratings, the Toyota Camry, which was essentially a five-star vehicle for the 2010 model year (it scored only one four-star rating that year in the rollover test), only managed an overall rating of three stars under the new system. Below that, the compact Nissan Versa (at right in the middle of earning just two stars in the side pole test) earned an overall rating of only two stars after the 2010 model had earned four stars across the board.

NHTSA has also redesigned the safercar.gov website to make these new ratings easier to research and analyze. Each vehicle's page is clearly laid out and all of the crash test results are explained clearly and accompanied with video of each particular test. The new ratings will start to appear on vehicle window stickers soon, but only the 33 models tested, and NHTSA says its working to have 60 models finished testing by year's end.

Check out results for the whole lot of re-tested cars after the jump in the official chart released by NHTSA. We've also included the agency's press release for a few more details about the new crash test rating system that automakers are no doubt scrambling to ace as we speak.

[Sources: NHTSA, USA Today]

New NHTSA Safety Ratings
New NHTSA safety ratings – Click to expand


Show full PR text
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Rolls Out
Upgraded 5-Star Vehicle Safety Ratings System


WASHINGTON -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator David Strickland today unveiled an enhanced 5-Star Safety Ratings System for new vehicles and released the safety ratings for the first model year 2011 vehicles tested under the program. The upgraded ratings system will now evaluate side pole crash testing and crash prevention-technologies. And, for the first time, it will use female crash test dummies to simulate crash scenarios involving women, not just men.

"More stars equal safer cars," said Secretary LaHood. "With our upgraded Five-Star Safety Ratings System, we're raising the bar on safety. Through new tests, better crash data, and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers."

Vehicle safety ratings range from 1 to 5 stars, with 1 star being the lowest and 5 stars the highest. Because so many vehicles had reached the highest rating under the old rating criteria, and because the new standards are much more rigorous, not all previously rated 5-star vehicles will remain at 5 stars.

The new 5-Star Safety Ratings System evaluates the safety of passenger cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks in three broad areas – frontal crash, side crash, and rollover resistance. For model year 2011, NHTSA will rate 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans and nine pickups under the new ratings system.

"We want consumers to embrace these new safety technologies as a way to make vehicles safer," said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland. "We believe electronic stability control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning offer significant safety benefits and consumers should consider them when buying a new car."

One of the most significant changes to the ratings program for consumers is the addition of an Overall Vehicle Score for each vehicle tested. The Overall Vehicle Score combines the results of a frontal crash test, side crash tests and rollover resistance tests and compares those results to the average risk of injury and potential for vehicle rollover of other vehicles.

NHTSA recommends consumers consider vehicles with crash avoidance technologies that meet the 5-Star Safety Ratings minimum performance tests, such as forward collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), and electronic stability control (ESC). All of the 2011 model year vehicles currently rated have ESC as standard, except for the Nissan Versa, in which it is optional.

More information, including the full list of newly-rated vehicles is available at the official website for the Federal government's 5-Star Safety Ratings Program, www.safercar.gov. At Safercar.gov, consumers can also find comprehensive information about safe driving, vehicle defects, safety recalls, and passenger safety.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      lynnisjr
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is idiocy, the Nissan Versa turns out 4 stars, 3 stars and 3 stars... for an overall rating of 2 stars...

      I trust the tests and data, but things should add up. Its dumb.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @lynnisjr
        I would love explanations to the frontal, like how the driver is 5stars and the woman passenger is 3...(M37)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @lynnisjr
        I think someone didn't check their work when making that above chart. If you go to the actual gov't website, the Versa gets only two stars for side impact.

        And I don't how they actually calculate overall score, but here are all the subcategories broken down for Versa...
        Front crash, male: 3
        Front crash, female: 2
        Side crash, front: 2
        Side crash, rear: 2
        Side pole: 2
        Rollover: 4

        15 stars total / 6 categories = 2.5 stars average.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sooo... When are we going to get serious about driver training and education? We pour all this effort and research into car safety and do very little to improve the most critical element - the person controlling the vehicle. We're killing a lot of potential performance and efficiency by making rolling tanks for idiot drivers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Couldn't have said it better myself..
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1 , Exactly!
      • 4 Years Ago
      A Ford Fiesta still manages to have four stars?

      I am impressed....
        • 4 Years Ago
        Notice that the only vehicles to get 5-starts in frontal crashes are SUV's. I think this is because a frontal impact has more to do with the vehicle mass and height, and a side-impact has more to do with how well the car is built (i.e. the structure needs to be rigid, the side airbags need to be well placed, etc...).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not sure they fully know what they tested. Audi S4 Avant Wagon and Audi S4 FWD? Yes please, and say what?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. Those vehicles do not exist. At least the Avant doesn't here in the states and the FWD nowhere in the world.

        NHTSA ratings are kinda BS anyways. The real crash test rating you want to look into is the one performed by the Insurance Administration.

        They want cars to be safer so they have to pay less in claims.
      • 4 Years Ago
      seriously? no hd video and no slowmo? what is this 1998?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't get why companies are allowed to modify their cars and resubmit (Hyundai, Fiesta). This is flat-out studying for the test. Yes, it allows them to get higher scores on the test, but is the point for the car to get a high score on the test or be safe in an accident you might have out on the street where you would have a crash that under these exact conditions?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The point is to have the most of the safest cars out there. Therefore, it just makes sense that if manufacturers will modify their cars for better safety as soon as they find out they didn't do as well on the tests as they thought they would that they'd be allowed to make changes and get a second test. Why would you not want them making changes for improved safety right now rather than waiting for the next model year or even generation? But I don't see where the Fiesta got a second (IIHS) test anyway. They made changes before the first test even.

        But buyers looking for the safest car would do well to wait for the results, it seems.
      • 4 Years Ago
      what happened to Acura? the only full line up of 5-star crash safety ratings. now they arent even on the chart...
        • 4 Years Ago
        They haven't had anything tested yet. You can't make any assumptions either way until something is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That Versa side pole test looks VICIOUS!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nothing under 5000 pounds got a 5-star crash rating for frontal impacts. What kind of message is this sending to the auto industry?

      ...and what is going on with the rollover rating? How on Earth do a Fiesta and a Grand Cherokee have the same rollover rating?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Fiesta is pretty narrow and tall. Probably easier to roll than you might think.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ah, but the Fiesta has an absurdly good roof crush rating. It supports 5X its weight, as compared to, say, the Fit, which only supports 3.5X its weight.
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