The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety classifies as a "large luxury car," has received the institute's highest safety honor, Top Safety Pick Plus. Helping to put it over the top, the E-Class earned a score of good in the small-overlap front crash test and offers standard front crash prevention technology. The vehicle also scored good in the other four testing areas: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint.
IIHS added the small overlap evaluation in 2012 to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle, tree or utility pole. To earn Plus status, a vehicle must receive a good or acceptable rating in this test, at least good on the other four crashworthiness evaluations, and basic, advanced or superior for front crash protection. The E-Class' standard Collision Prevention Assist scored a rating of basic for front crash protection, but when equipped with the optional Pre-Safe Brake system, that score is bumped up to superior.
"Beginning with 2014 models manufactured after January, Mercedes strengthened the footwell area of the occupant compartment to improve protection in small overlap frontal crashes," IIHS said in a statement.
The standard rear-wheel-drive E-Class comes in four body styles: sedan, coupe, cabriolet and wagon. IIHS noted that the footwell strength improvements apply to four-door versions. The E-Class is the fourth large luxury car to achieve Top Safety Pick Plus status for 2014, joining the 2014 Acura RLX, 2015 Hyundai Genesis and 2014 Volvo S80.
The 2013 E-Class sedan earned a rating of Top Safety Pick. It received good scores in the four crash tests and a basic score in front-crash protection. However, its optional automatic braking system wasn't tested.