Small overlap frontal crash tests on both the driver and passenger sides find one company’s design superior to all others. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – July 9, 2016 FWD 2016 Hyundai Tucson Eco - $25,170 to start incl. mats and the $895 D&H charge. $2 to $3k off sticker is normal across the country. With the very powerful yet fuel sipping 175 hp and 195 lb-ft. of torque 1.6L mated to its wide ratio 7-speed dual clutch AT, it provides owners with a 26/33 mpgUS city/highway rating. The 2016 Hyundai Tucson also happens to be the safest rated compact CUV money can buy as it was the only vehicle in the small SUV category to receive “Good” ratings for both driver and passenger in the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small-overlap crash test ratings. In other words, every other OEM to a vehicle cut corners at your expense. Hyundai put their $s, their engineering prowess and their reputation on the line. David Zuby, Executive VP of IIHS: Drivers of vehicles with good small overlap front ratings from the IIHS can expect to be protected well in a frontal crash involving the left front corner of the vehicle. Remember it was just over a year ago when someone brought to the attention of the agency that Ford had installed crash bars on just the most popular trim of its F-150 and left the other two trims with less protection. Moving onward, the agency then asked, “How would the passengers sitting next to them fare in a right-side small overlap crash?” A new study shows that good protection doesn't always extend across the front seat. The Institute conducted 40 mph passenger-side small overlap tests on seven small SUVs with good driver-side small overlap ratings. Only one of the vehicles, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, performed at a level corresponding to a good rating, and the others ran the gamut from poor to acceptable. The results have prompted IIHS to consider instituting a passenger-side rating as part of its TOP SAFETY PICK criteria. Becky Mueller, an IIHS Senior Research Engineer and the lead author of the study: IIHS introduced the small overlap test in 2012, following the success of the moderate overlap front test in spurring automakers to make improvements. While the moderate overlap test involves 40 percent of the width of the vehicle, the small overlap test involves just 25 percent. It is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. Small overlap crashes pose a challenge because they bypass a typical vehicle's main front structure. Since the test was introduced, 13 manufacturers have made structural changes to 97 vehicles. Of these, nearly three-quarters now achieve a good rating post changes. IIHS conducts its tests for frontal ratings with a driver dummy and with the barrier overlapping the driver side. The reason is simple: Every vehicle on the road has a driver, but there isn't always a passenger riding along. The recent passenger-side tests show how big the differences can be. In this group of small SUVs, most didn't perform as well when they were crashed into a barrier on the right side instead of the left. That was even true of models that appeared symmetrical after removing bumper covers and other external components. Mueller added: For example, the structure of the Toyota RAV4 held up well in the driver-side small overlap test (left). In contrast, intrusion was severe in the passenger-side crash. The 2015 Toyota RAV4 and the 2014 Nissan Rogue were the only vehicles to appear asymmetrical. In the passenger-side test, the RAV4 was the worst performer. If the Institute issued ratings for passenger-side protection, the RAV4 would earn a poor rating. The Rogue would earn a marginal. These two vehicles had the highest amount of passenger-side intrusion. Intrusion measures are important because they indicate how well the structure held up; the greater the amount of intrusion, the higher the likelihood of serious injuries. Maximum intrusion in the passenger-side test was 13 inches more than in the driver-side test for the RAV4 and 10 inches more for the Rogue. The Rogue's door hinge pillar was torn off completely, and the RAV4's door opened. In a real crash, an open door would leave the occupant at risk for ejection. Two vehicles that appeared symmetrical, the 2014 Subaru Forester and the 2015 Mazda CX-5, also had substantially more intrusion in the passenger-side test than in the driver-side test. In earlier research, Mueller found that the most common change manufacturers make to improve vehicle structure for small overlap protection is to strengthen the occupant compartment. To do this, they might use a different type of material or add a few millimeters of thickness — changes that can't be discerned from a visual examination. It's likely these types of modifications were made to the Forester and CX-5, but only on the driver side. The other three vehicles tested had relatively similar structural performance on both sides of the vehicle. The small differences that were observed could have been caused by normal variability in test results. Another factor is that vehicles are to a certain extent inherently asymmetrical. For example, structures to secure the steering wheel and pedals may provide additional bracing around the driver-side toepan, which prevents some intrusion. Because of these findings, the new IIHS passenger-side small overlap ratings would remedy this asymmetrical design problem. The Institute could start such a program next year and make it a requirement for one of its safety awards as early as 2018. 2016 Hyundai Tucson Superior crash test performance during the IIHS Small Overlap Crash test no matter the side it hits something. For 2016, the Tucson was ladened with new, advanced safety technologies such as Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Warning System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, Backup Warning Sensors and standard rearview camera are offered on the Tucson. In addition, advanced high-strength steel represents > 50 percent of the new Tucson’s structure for enhanced crash safety. The Tucson is engineered to provide its passengers with multiple defensive safety layers. The A-pillar and mirror blind spots were reduced for enhanced driver visibility. The steel unibody has integrated crumple zones and a high-tensile front sub-frame designed to work together to reduce the forces that typically reach the passenger compartment. The center pillars serve as the anchors of a ring structure which improves overall side structure stiffness while also creating more room for the door armrest and seat. All four doors also have internal guard beams to protect passengers in a side-impact collision. The entire body shell has been made stiffer and lighter thanks to extensive use of advanced high-strength steel, and the use of Tailor Welded Blanks (TWB) reinforces key structural members. TWB assemblies combine steels of different thickness and grades using a sophisticated laser welding and stamping process to achieve an optimal stiffness-to-weight ratio. TWBs reduce body weight while enhancing crash energy management. Given the results above, which compact CUV would you rather have the passenger seat occupied just in case?