Well, that was a quick turnaround. Just seven months after eight of 11 luxury cars blew the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new small-overlap frontal test, all five cars in the latest IIHS small-overlap test scored Acceptable or Good — the top two of four possible scores.
The 2014 Mazda6 sedan, 2013 Honda Civic Coupe and Civic Sedan, 2013 Volvo XC60 SUV and 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan passed IIHS' most challenging frontal test, which simulates a 40-mph impact with a rigid barrier that overlaps just 25% of the front of a car. All five cars earned IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ ("plus") honor, a rank above Top Safety Pick status.
IIHS said in 2012 that some 10,000 annual highway deaths in the U.S. occur from frontal collisions, and nearly a quarter of those occur because of so-called small overlap situations.
The 2013 MKZ is the first car that documents an automaker's improvement in the same test. In August 2012, its predecessor scored poorly, allowing a belted crash-test dummy to careen toward the A-pillar rather than the front airbag. The redesigned MKZ offered better front-airbag protection, earning the car an Acceptable score. The Mazda6 scored Acceptable, too.