Subaru’s EyeSight tops safety system ratings
By Michael Bettencourt, Globe and Mail
The U.S. insurance industry has lauded Subaru’s EyeSight system as the most effective amongst 74 moderately priced and mid-sized luxury vehicles it recently tested. In a new series of tests to determine how effectively various forward collision and autobrake systems actually are, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety rates the effectiveness of such systems on three descending levels of protection: superior, advanced and basic.
The tests determine how well vehicles prevent or mitigate running into car-shaped soft barriers up ahead, using tests run at 12 mph (19 km/h) and 25 mph (40 km/h). Vehicles rated superior have autobrake and can avoid a crash or substantially reduce speeds in both tests. For an advanced rating, a vehicle must have autobrake and avoid a crash or reduce speeds by at least five mph (eight km/h) in one of two tests. For the basic rating, a vehicle doesn’t need the autobrake function, just a sufficient warning that comes before a specified time, as defined by the NHTSA.
Seven vehicles out of the first 74 tested achieved a Superior rating, with the Subaru Legacy and Outback crossover joining two vehicles each from Cadillac (ATS sport sedan and SRX crossover) and Volvo (S60 sedan and XC60 SUV), as well as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Subaru’s system avoided any collisions at either speed, while the next-best-rated Cadillac system allowed only light contact in the 40 km/h test. Such forward collision alert and autobrake systems are often optional on such vehicles, said the IIHS, but have been proven to help avoid front impact crashes.
“Front crash prevention systems can add a thousand dollars or more to the cost of a new car,” said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, in releasing the results. “Our new ratings let consumers know which systems offer the most promise for the extra expense.”
The agency will incorporate these results for a vehicle to be eligible for its 2014 Top Safety Pick+ awards, which will require at least a basic forward collision warning rating. Its upgraded 2014 awards are planned for release in December.