CARS.COM — When it comes to annual crashworthiness evaluations of vehicles by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, one thing is always for sure: It doesn’t get any easier. Automakers starting in 2018 will have another challenge to face in the crash-test contest: the passenger-side small overlap front test.
This latest feather in a Top Safety Pick Plus award recipient’s cap will indicate that the car earned an acceptable or good score for its ability to withstand a collision in which the passenger-side corner strikes, for example, a tree or utility pole. The test is basically the passenger version of the existing small front overlap test, a stringent evaluation implemented in 2012 that sends a vehicle into a barrier at 40 mph with just 25 percent of the front end on the driver side overlapping the obstacle.
As of this year, vehicles vying for a Top Safety Pick Plus award — IIHS’ top safety honor — had to earn a rating of good in the existing five crash tests, including small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats, along with an advanced or superior rating for their front crash prevention system and an acceptable or good rating for headlights. Now, they will face the added layer of scrutiny of having to earn good or acceptable on the passenger-side small overlap front test.