ARLINGTON, Va., April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The redesigned 2009
Subaru Forester, a small SUV, earns the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety's TOP SAFETY PICK award. Winners afford superior overall crash
protection among the vehicles in their class. 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.
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Criteria to win are tough because the award is intended to drive
continued safety improvements such as top crash test ratings and the rapid
addition of electronic stability control, which is standard on the
"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," says Institute president Adrian Lund.
Only 13 cars, minivans, and SUVs initially qualified for 2007 awards.
Now 37 models earn the designation. As automakers introduce new models or
make safety changes to existing ones, the Institute adds winners throughout
"The performance of the Forester underscores Subaru's commitment to
delivering state-of-the-art safety to its customers," Lund says. "You don't
know what kind of crash you're going to be in. That's why it's important to
choose a vehicle that will protect you in all kinds of crashes. The TOP
SAFETY PICK designation is intended to help people find the safest
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. Seats with good or acceptable restraint
geometry are tested dynamically using a dummy that measures forces on the
neck. This test simulates a collision in which a stationary vehicle is
struck in the rear at 20 mph. Seats without good or acceptable geometry are
rated poor overall because they can't be positioned to protect many people.
SOURCE Insurance Institute for Highway Safety