2012 Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Passat Earn Five-Star NHTSA Ratings


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released another batch of 2012 model-year crash-test ratings today. Under the stricter guidelines, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic compact and the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan earned five-star composite scores.

NHTSA’s composite scores are composed of five-star ratings for frontal, rollover and a combined side pole and barrier tests. The side pole test, which is new, 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 Sonic’s composite score was composed of a five-star frontal, four-star rollover and a five-star rating for the combined side pole and barrier tests. The Passat had a five-star frontal, four-star rollover and five-star combined side-impact score.

The two models join the Cadillac CTS, Cadillac SRX, Saab 9-4X, Chevrolet Camaro and Toyota Camry as the only other vehicles to earn five-star composite scores for 2012.

Also in this batch of testing were results for the 2012 Dodge Durango and Mazda6; each earned a four-star composite score. The Mazda6 had a relatively poor three-star rating in the side pole test and frontal crash test. The Durango received a four-star frontal, three-star rollover and a five-star rating for the combined side pole and barrier tests.

NHTSA said it will test 74 vehicles for the 2012 model year, including 42 passenger cars, 22 SUVs/crossovers, eight pickups and two minivans, representing 81% of the 2012 models by sales volume. So far, only seven models have earned five-star ratings for the model year.

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