Muscle cars do poorly in IIHS crash tests

2016 Dodge Challenger
They may be some of the fastest and coolest cars on the road, but do they have the safety equipment to match their performance? Not necessarily, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger.

None of these cars earned the “Top Safety Pick” rating, which is the IIHS’ top rating for crashworthiness, although the Mustang came close. The IIHS also awards a “Top Safety Pick+” rating for vehicles with collision avoidance systems like automatic braking, but none of the cars qualified for that either. The Mustang and Challenger only have rudimentary systems, while the Camaro doesn’t offer one at all.

Both the Mustang and Challenger earned five-star overall ratings from the federal government (the Camaro hasn’t been rated yet), but IIHS tests are a bit more stringent. They include a small frontal overall test introduced in 2012 to simulate an off-center collision with a narrow object like a tree or utility pole. In this test, the Camaro earned the top “good” rating, the Mustang was rated “acceptable,” while the Challenger was rated “marginal.”

Read more: Few bright spots in IIHS headlight test

The Challenger performed particularly poorly in the small overlap test. The crash forced its driver’s side front wheel rearward, causing “intrusion” into the passenger space. The crash test dummy’s left foot was trapped, and technicians had to unbolt the leg in order to free the dummy. That has only happened five other times since IIHS began running the small overlap test, said IIHS president Adrian Lund. Analysis of the dummy indicated a “high likelihood” of serious leg injuries.

The Camaro did much better, keeping its passenger compartment intact, while some “intrusion” by the door hinge pillar and instrumental panel was noted in the Mustang. The Camaro was redesigned for the 2016 model year, while the Mustang was redesigned for 2015. The Challenger was updated for 2015, but it hasn’t been fully redesigned since the current-generation model appeared in 2008. All three cars tested had V8 engines.

The IIHS doesn’t normally test muscle cars or sports cars, because they make up a small share of the market (and crash tests are expensive). Nonetheless, sports cars experience the highest losses among passenger vehicles for crash damage repairs under collision coverage, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. Their drivers are also more likely to engage in risky behavior. No one buys a Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger to go slow, after all.


Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.