Jun 23, 2008, 01:00 ET from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

    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
 of crashes."
     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
 the impact.
     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