Last Updated on November 11, 2020 by Theodore Spaulding
So, you’re ready to purchase a new vehicle ─ after a bit of research, of course.
One of your most reliable sources may be Consumer Reports, the old granddad of quality ratings dating back to 1936. One of the measures you may be specifically interested in is the public crash safety rating. If so, you may be disappointed to learn that quite a few models are not crash-tested by independent organizations. These are mostly high-end sports and luxury vehicles that automakers don’t produce in high enough volume to justify crash testing.
So while you can research these vehicles’ fuel economy, 0-to-60-mph acceleration time, and cargo capacity in Consumer Reports, you won’t be able to find how they performed in crucial crash tests.
Which Vehicles Don’t Get Public Crash Test Ratings?
Nearly a half-million passenger cars and SUVs sold each year have not been crash-test rated by the two main organizations that conduct independent assessments: the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which uses a star rating system, and the insurance industry-backed Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which rates vehicles from Poor to Good.
About 97 percent of all new vehicles sold are crash-test rated by one or both of the independent organizations. According to Consumer Reports, the vehicles that are not independently tested are:
- All Land Rover vehicles
- All Porsche vehicles
- All Jaguar vehicles
- Lexus GX
- Mercedes-Benz GLA
- Mercedes-Benz GLS
- BMW X7
- BMW 4 series
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Mercedes-Benz S class
- Mercedes-Benz A class
- Mercedes CLA
- Honda Clarity
- Toyota Sequoia
- Mazda MX5 Miata
If the vehicle you’re interested in is new and doesn’t have a rating yet, it may be worth waiting until it gets tested, says Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing. “This is another good reason not to get the first new model at the dealership,” he says.
Car buyers interested in a model without publicly available crash-test data should at least lookup driver fatality rates and insurance claim losses by make and model. This can be found on the IIHS website.
It is also important to note that even cars that lack public crash-test ratings from the NHTSA or the IIHS must still meet minimum federal safety standards. To sell a new vehicle in the U.S., manufacturers must provide data from their own internal crash tests to the NHTSA.
Ultimately, crashworthiness is a key factor in buying a new vehicle. In addition, advanced safety features that may prevent crashes from occurring are also high on buyers’ priority list.
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