ARLINGTON, Va., June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The redesigned 2009
Acura TSX, a midsize luxury car, wins the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety's TOP SAFETY PICK award. Winners afford superior overall crash
protection among the vehicles in their classes. To qualify, a vehicle must
earn the highest rating of good in the Institute's front, side, and rear
tests and be equipped with electronic stability control. The new TSX
improved in the side test from acceptable to good and in the rear test from
poor to good, compared with the previous model.
"Criteria to win are tough because TOP SAFETY PICK is intended to drive
continued improvements such as top crash test ratings and rapid addition of
electronic stability control, which is standard equipment on the TSX," says
Institute president Adrian Lund. "Recognizing vehicles at the head of the
class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices
without having to sort through multiple test results."
"This is the third Acura and the eighth model from Honda to earn our
top award," Lund says. "Frontal crashworthiness has improved dramatically
for all cars in recent years, but there still are significant differences
in how vehicles perform in our side and rear tests."
Huge improvements in protection for people in rear crashes: Seat/head
restraints in the 2004-08 TSX were rated poor for occupant protection in
rear crashes. Honda redesigned the seats in the 2009 TSX to earn a better
rating, and when the Institute tested the new seat, it earned the highest
rating of good.
"You don't know what kind of crash you're going to be in," Lund says,
"so it's important to choose a vehicle that will protect you in all kinds
In 2007 the Institute made the criteria to earn TOP SAFETY PICK tougher
by adding a requirement -- winners must be equipped with electronic
stability control (ESC). Known by different names and called vehicle
stability assist on the TSX, ESC helps drivers maintain control in the
worst situation -- loss of control at high speed -- by engaging
automatically when it senses vehicle instability and helping to bring a
vehicle back in the intended line of travel. ESC lowers the risk of a fatal
single-vehicle crash by about half. It lowers the risk of a fatal rollover
crash by as much as 80 percent.
How vehicles are evaluated: The Institute's frontal crashworthiness
evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each
vehicle's overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the
occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a Hybrid III dummy in the
driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the
restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.
Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the
side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier
represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings reflect injury
measures recorded on two instrumented SID-IIs dummies, assessment of head
protection countermeasures, and the vehicle's structural performance during
Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure.
Starting points for the ratings are measurements of head restraint geometry
-- the height of a restraint and its horizontal distance behind the back of
the head of an average-size man. Seat/head restraints with good or
acceptable geometry are tested dynamically using a dummy that measures
forces on the neck.
SOURCE Insurance Institute for Highway Safety