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WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp.'s sport-utility vehicles generally have poor ratings in the government's frontal crash tests but perform well in side-impact crashes, according to results released Wednesday.


Without the smart seat belt system activated, Free Press Business Writer Jeff Bennett moves too far forward in a simulated car crash at TRW Automotive.

The 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer, Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy, GMC Envoy XUV and Oldsmobile Bravada each earned three out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's frontal crash tests. But they earned five stars on the side-impact tests.

Three stars means there is a 21-percent to 35-percent chance of serious injury in a similar real-world crash. NHTSA conducts the front-impact test at 35 mph and the side-impact test at 38.5 mph.

GM spokesman Jim Schell said none of the vehicles tested has been updated in the last two years. He pointed out that one of GM's new SUVs, the Cadillac SRX, earned four stars on the frontal crash test and five stars on the side-impact test.

The Saturn Vue, Toyota Highlander and Infiniti FX were the only SUVs of the 13 tested to receive five stars in both the front- and side-impact tests.

The Dodge Durango received five stars on the frontal crash test but it wasn't put through a side-impact test. That was an improvement from 2003, when the Durango earned four stars on the front-impact test. The Saturn Vue also improved its performance from 2003.

The Volkswagen Touareg earned five stars in the side-impact test, but NHTSA is still analyzing the results of the front-impact test. The Toyota RAV4 earned four stars on the front-impact test and five stars on the side-impact test.




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Originally posted by nsap@May 6 2004, 11:32 AM
WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp.'s sport-utility vehicles generally have poor ratings in the government's frontal crash tests but perform well in side-impact crashes, according to results released Wednesday.


Without the smart seat belt system activated, Free Press Business Writer Jeff Bennett moves too far forward in a simulated car crash at TRW Automotive.

The 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer, Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy, GMC Envoy XUV and Oldsmobile Bravada each earned three out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's frontal crash tests. But they earned five stars on the side-impact tests.

Three stars means there is a 21-percent to 35-percent chance of serious injury in a similar real-world crash. NHTSA conducts the front-impact test at 35 mph and the side-impact test at 38.5 mph.

GM spokesman Jim Schell said none of the vehicles tested has been updated in the last two years. He pointed out that one of GM's new SUVs, the Cadillac SRX, earned four stars on the frontal crash test and five stars on the side-impact test.

The Saturn Vue, Toyota Highlander and Infiniti FX were the only SUVs of the 13 tested to receive five stars in both the front- and side-impact tests.

The Dodge Durango received five stars on the frontal crash test but it wasn't put through a side-impact test. That was an improvement from 2003, when the Durango earned four stars on the front-impact test. The Saturn Vue also improved its performance from 2003.

The Volkswagen Touareg earned five stars in the side-impact test, but NHTSA is still analyzing the results of the front-impact test. The Toyota RAV4 earned four stars on the front-impact test and five stars on the side-impact test.




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has the vue changed since 2003? different engine perhaps do something to control the damage? otherwise, this test is a load of crap... because if the vehicle hasn't changed, the score shouldn't either.
 

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Manufacturers tweak the physical design of vehicles all of the time without any or much outside change. Exterior body panels may be identical, but the underlying structure can be enhanced. This happens more often when a vehicle doesn't fare so well in a crash test or gets a safety recall.

They wouldn't retest the vehicle unless GM believed it would get a different result.
 

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Originally posted by Hudson@May 6 2004, 01:28 PM
Manufacturers tweak the physical design of vehicles all of the time without any or much outside change.
ah, i didn't know that. i guess stuff like bumpers and brackets can easily be changed, though i assume actual changes to any other componenets might get more tricky and expensive.
 

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And to further your comment, Hudson, the automakers tweak their products so that they do well in NHTSA's (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's) crash tests and not necessarily in real-world driving situations. I don't blame GM or any manufacturer for improving their products specifically for this purpose, and some good can come out of it. But it also demonstrates why I don't pay too much attention to these tests, whether or not GM performs well in them or not.

These tests seem to place the automakers in a precarious predicament wherein they're compelled to bolster their public image by doing well in these tests to say that they pass muster with governmental tests. Otherwise, they're labeled "unsafe."

In a sense, I agree with paul8488: "this test is a load of crap."
 

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Too bad for the GM midsizers. Nice SUVs, but I want the safest SUV out there...
 

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When people buy vehicle primarily based upon their crash safety rating, I have to wonder why they drive at all. Take a bus or something if the fear of crashing your car is your #1 concern. Better yet, don't leave the house.

Instead of buying a car so you can survive a crash, how about you buy a car you actually like and invest some time in making yourself a better, more alert driver? Don't use your cell phone or eat when you drive. Use your seatbelt all the time. Take a driving class. Buy a car with ABS and stability control so you can avoid accidents. Understand how the safety systems in you car actually work.

This endless focus on crash numbers has resulted in cars that should weigh 3,500 pounds actually weighing 4,500 pounds which translates into poor fuel economy and boat like handling. The VW Toureg is a good example of this fat-car syndrome. It got good crash results at the expense of 1,000 pounds of extra weight, poorer performance and fuel economy, and cumbersome handling.

Mark
 

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Originally posted by nsap@May 6 2004, 05:32 AM
The Saturn Vue ... five stars in both the front- and side-impact tests.
Five stars for both front and side impacts.
250-hp. 20/28 mileage. I built a FWD V6
and, after rebate, it was barely $20,000...
(Less than $22K for a Redline w/ the 18s.)
 

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Hmm...saw a redline the other day. Looks sweet!
 
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