By Colin Bird on December 21, 2010
The 2011 Acura MDX received an overall rating of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new crash-test rating system, the safety agency announced today.
The MDX’s overall composite score is composed of a four-star frontal, four-star rollover and a perfect five-star rating for the combined side pole and barrier tests. The side barrier test is an area where other vehicles have shown weakness with the safety agency’s new testing format. The side pole test simulates a 20-mph side-impact crash into a 10-inch-diameter pole or tree at a 75-degree angle just behind the A-pillar on the driver’s side.
The MDX does get an asterisk next to its five-star side rating: After the side barrier test, 10.88 ounces of gasoline leaked from the fuel system, which, in a real accident, would have caused a fire.
NHTSA also tested the 2011 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h, and each received an overall rating of four stars — four stars in frontal and rollover, and five stars in side impact. Even though that’s the same score breakdown as the MDX, the Lexus overall score isn’t equal. We've contacted representatives from the NHTSA about the issue and have yet to hear back.
The 2011 Toyota RAV4 received a combined rating of three stars — three stars in frontal and four stars in side and rollover.
Out of the 45 models NHTSA has tested so far, only six have earned a five-star rating under the revamped system: BMW 5 Series, Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata. NHTSA still has about 10 more models left to test for 2011.