By Jason Siu
The agency recently tested six large cars, with the Continental, E-Class, and Avalon being the ones to earn the Institute’s highest award. The Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Impala, and Ford Taurus fall short of any award because they only earn an acceptable rating in the small overlap front crash test.
The Lincoln Continental’s optional front crash prevention system earns a superior rating, and when equipped with the system, the sedan avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph. Earning a good rating on the headlight test are the Continental’s LED projector headlights, which are an option on the Reserve trim line. The vehicle is also available with HID lights that earn a poor rating.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class was completely redesigned for 2017 and offers two different front crash prevention systems – one standard and the other optional – with both earning superior ratings. The luxury sedan is also available with two different headlight systems, with one earning a good rating and the other getting an acceptable rating. Earning the highest score of any headlights IIHS has rated are the ones on the Premium II or Premium III package on the E300.
Also joining the ranks of Top Safety Pick+ award winners is the Toyota Avalon. The sedan was previously recognized as a Top Safety Pick, but fell short because it had marginal and poor headlights. Toyota Avalons built after March however, have improved headlights with the Limited and Hybrid Limited trims coming with acceptable-rated headlights. Other models have marginal headlights, and none receive a poor rating.
Earlier this year, the Tesla Model S fell short of an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating and the American automaker made some changes in hopes of improving. Unfortunately, IIHS tested the modified Model S and found that the same problem occurred as before, so the all-electric sedan’s rating doesn’t change. The main problem with the Model S is that the safety belt let the dummy’s torso move too far forward, allowing the dummy’s head to strike the steering wheel hard through the airbag.
On the Chevrolet Impala, it receives good ratings in the other crashworthiness tests but has an acceptable rating on the small overlap front crash test. Its optional front crash prevention system does earn a superior rating, but all available headlights earn a poor rating.
The sixth large sedan tested is the Ford Taurus, which like the Impala, earns good ratings in the other crashworthiness tests but an acceptable rating in the small overlap front crash test. Its front crash prevention system earns a basic rating and all available headlights on the Taurus are rated poor.