NEWS

IIHS Names Hyundai Genesis a Top Safety Pick

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“In the first tests [on pre-December 2008 models], the dummies had hit the steering wheel through the airbag, so there were high forces on the driver dummy’s head,” IIHS spokesman Russ Rader said. “And the forces on the dummy’s right leg also indicated there would likely” be injury there as well.

“Hyundai made some modifications to Genesis models, and we did another test,” Rader said. “They modified the [front] airbag, and they added padding in the knee bolster area. And in the second test, the injury measures on the right leg improved to Good.”

The Genesis also earned Good ratings in side- and rear-impact IIHS tests, though Rader said Genesis models built before Nov. 20, 2008, had late side-airbag deployment that resulted in a higher risk of torso injury. Hyundai fixed the problem by reprogramming the airbags; it also issued a service bulletin for cars built before Nov. 20 so owners could have them reprogrammed, Rader said. (Note that the front airbag and knee bolster tweaks are hardware-related, so they can’t be changed in pre-December cars.) Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore confirmed the late side airbag deployment, but couldn’t yet confirm that Hyundai had issued a as well as the service bulletin.

Standard safety features on the Genesis comprise eight airbags – including side curtain and seat-mounted side airbags for both rows – plus stability and traction control, antilock brakes and active head restraints. Still, it’s the results that impress: More safety features generally make luxury cars perform better in crash tests, but several notables – the BMW 5 Series, Cadillac STS and outgoing Mercedes E-Class – have (in)famously returned middling scores. We like the Genesis for a lot of reasons, and now you can tack up safety as one of ‘em.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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