The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently introduced a new, stricter side crash test, and the next round of models tested are midsize cars, where the 2022 Subaru Outback resides. The IIHS just put seven midsize cars through the new test, and only one, the 2022 Subaru Outback, earned a "Good" rating.
How does the Subaru Outback compare with the other midsize cars?
The 2022 Subaru Outback was the only model to receive the highest mark, a "Good" rating from the IIHS. The Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta received Acceptable scores, the Honda Accord got a Marginal rating, and the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Chevrolet Malibu received Poor ratings.
photo credit: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The IIHS developed the new side test to address higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities, and they suspected few new models would get the highest score. "We developed this new test because we suspected there was room for more progress, and these results confirm that," IIHS President David Harkey says.
Why does the Outback get the highest Good rating?
The IIHS believes one reason could be the Outback's higher ride height gives it an advantage. "With vehicles that sit lower to the ground, the striking barrier hits higher on the door panel," says IIHS President David Harkey. "That potentially puts sedans and wagons at a disadvantage in this evaluation but reflects what happens in a real-world crash when these vehicles are struck by a higher-riding pickup or SUV."
The Subaru Outback has a ride height of 8.7-inches, higher than a sedan, and sits taller than most midsize SUVs. The IIHS says head-protecting airbags for the driver and rear passenger performed well in the Outback, Sonata, and Jetta, "contributing to a low risk of head and neck injuries for occupants in both seating positions."
Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, says the new test "Means we all have new information about models that may provide additional protection in these types of side impact crashes, and those future models will likely incorporate improvements that make them even better. We will all benefit from those improvements, and we look to organizations like IIHS to continue to drive them."
The new IIHS side crash test reveals the 2022 Subaru Outback is the safest new midsize vehicle customers can buy. Joe Young, a spokesman for the IIHS, says, "We expect to see continued improvements with the rollout of this new test. These new ratings certainly reflect the challenge posed by the new test configuration, but, as the Subaru Outback demonstrates, good side protection is achievable for this vehicle class."
Check out the 2022 Subaru Outback side test crash video below.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety