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Thread: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles
    Imported Models Take All 13 Spots on Insurance Industry's Rankings


    Imported models took all 13 spots on the U.S. insurance industry's list of safest vehicles this year, due mainly to a new requirement that all cars and sport utilities on the list have systems to keep them stable in an emergency.

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn't bashful about its reasons for pushing electronic stability control, saying that its studies show up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year could be prevented if every vehicle had the safety feature.

    "The research is so compelling that electronic stability control could help prevent many crashes from happening in the first place," institute spokesman Russ Rader said.

    The list of 2007 model year winners being released Tuesday includes the Audi A6 in the large car category; the Audi A-4, Saab 9-3 and Subaru Legacy (with optional stability control) for midsize cars; the Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona minivans; the Mercedes M-class and Volvo XC90 luxury sport utility vehicles; the Acura RDX, Honda Pilot and Subaru B9 Tribeca midsize SUVs; and the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester small SUVs.

    All 13 vehicles are tops in protecting people in front, side and rear crash tests based on institute tests during the year. Pickup trucks were not included because the institute has not yet tested their side crashworthiness.

    Electronic stability control senses when a driver may lose control of the vehicle and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels to help make it stable and avoid a rollover.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring the technology on all new vehicles by the 2012 model year, but institute President Adrian Lund said that's not soon enough.

    "We think that they are too slow," Lund said. "Automakers will probably have it as standard equipment by the time the federal standards actually take full effect."

    Domestic manufacturers had no models on the list of safest vehicles because they haven't moved quickly enough to add stability control to their models, Lund said in a telephone interview.
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    For instance, Ford Motor Co. would have had three cars - the Ford Freestyle crossover and the Mercury Montego and Ford 500 sedans - make the list if they had stability control, the institute said. The 500 and the Montego earned top safety picks last year.

    Ford spokesman Jim Cain said all three vehicles will get stability control for the 2008 model year, with versions equipped with the safety feature on sale sometime next year. The company has not determined whether the feature will be standard or optional, he said.

    "We're moving in the same direction as the institute," he said.

    Ford has said previously that it would put stability control on its entire lineup by the end of 2009.

    General Motors Corp. said nearly two years ago that it would make the technology standard in all vehicles by 2010, including all SUVs and some full-size pickups in the 2007 model year.

    Toyota has said stability control would be a standard feature across all its models by 2009.

    DaimlerChrysler AG said it will have the technology on 54 percent of its vehicles this model year and will meet the federal government's timetable for the rest.

    All 2007 SUVs, pickups and minivans produced by Honda Motor Co. carry the technology, while Hyundai Motor Co. said it is standard equipment on 70 percent of its 2007 vehicles.

    Several other vehicles, including nine Toyota Motor Corp. models, would have made the list if they had stability control, the institute said.

    No small cars made this year's list. The Honda Civic, which won last year, was knocked off due to lack of stability control on most models. The one version that has the feature doesn't have head restraints for rear crash protection, the institute said.

    SUVs were eligible to win for the first time this year because the institute conducted side-impact tests on many models.

    The institute said the overall awards will help people quickly compare vehicles without having to review results from multiple tests.

  2. #2
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    I don't understand the reasoning behind the IIHS selction of vehicles equipped with only stability control. Stability control does not make a safe car. It makes a complicated and expensive car. I hate to see what the repair bill is going to be to fix one of these vehicles 5, 10, or 15 years from now.

    I don't get the American public's obsession with safety devices. I have been driving for 26+ years without major incident. (I have had tow minor, minor fender benders in that time.) ABS and stability control may have saved my butt, but its highly unlikely, as they occurred when I stepped on the brakes too late on wet pavement.

    I don't listen to anything the IIHS has to say about cars. I don't listen to car salesman when they talk about curtain airbags, stability control, ABS or anything else that they want to shove down our throats. It has never been shown that ABS nor stability control has saved lives or prevented accidents, yet every car has them. Conversely, it seems that the fatality rates have plateaued since these items have become widespread on the vehicle fleet. It seems as if people do not really know how to take advantage of their supposed safety "benefits." I don't beleive it has anytihng to do with increased driving speeds, as I believe that highway speeds have stabalized or gotten slightly lower in the llast 2 years.

    Safety on a vehicle to me is having good brakes, good steering, good vehicle lighting, and good tires. Good tires are the main thing. That is why I would never put anything less than an H--rated tire on any of my vechles. I may trade off to a T-rated tire in the future due to fuel and longetivity concerns, however, the sidewall better be stiff and the tread better be ample for the car.

    Better lighting is an area that is sorely lacking on all makes and models of cars. The only decent lighting I've ever seen on a car is on the lowly VW Jetta. They are pushing the boundaries of U.S. lighting regulations to produce the clearest beam I have ever seen on a car. The U.S. DOT lighting regulations are sadly in need of a major overhaul to bring them in line with the European lighting standards.

    Of course, the IIHS is not really about safety. They would never go for something that would actually prevent accidents.


  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Amen, brother!

    I could not agree with you any more.

    But the safety-obsessed public disagrees with us, apparently...

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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    I don't understand the reasoning behind the IIHS selction of vehicles equipped with only stability control. Stability control does not make a safe car. It makes a complicated and expensive car. I hate to see what the repair bill is going to be to fix one of these vehicles 5, 10, or 15 years from now..

    Just because cars didn't have air bags or DSTC, or ABS you make an assumption that they are not needed. In the past cars were not designed with safety in mind. AAMOF, I remeber around 1960, GM said it would go bankrupt if the government required them to include seat belts in cars. Just because they didn't have these devices in 1950, doesn't mean they weren't needed.

    Yes, I know at one time the average guy could maintain/fix his own car, but not anymore. Cars are now complicated, and do require expensive repairs, and most repairs you can't do yourself. Get over it.

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    I don't get the American public's obsession with safety devices.
    Most people don't want to be severly injured, maimed, or killed in an auto accident. The people are voting - they are buying cars equipped with safety devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    I don't listen to anything the IIHS has to say about cars. I don't listen to car salesman when they talk about curtain airbags, stability control, ABS or anything else that they want to shove down our throats.
    Hey, that's really an ignorant statement, I'll let you take it back <G>.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    "Most people don't want to be severly injured, maimed, or killed in an auto accident. The people are voting - they are buying cars equipped with safety devices."

    Hi Doug,

    I understand that - and it's a valid concern. But at the same time, I don't think Swamp's off-base in arguing it's becoming excessive. Many new cars now come with 6 or more air bags; how much of an actual reduction in real-world "risk" is achieved by adding multiple ai rbags? Why not eight? How much are you willing to pay for these bags? And let's face it, cost is a factor that must be addressed, demagoguery about "how much is your life worth," notwithstanding. Most people can't afford to spend $30k for a family car.

    We're pursuing diminishing returns beyond a certain point.

    Also, there's a definite element of "idiot-proofing" to some of this. By exercising sound jugment (for example, slowing down in inclement weather; not driving "beyond your limits," etc.) things like stability control become increasingly irrelevant. I think there is a strong argument to be made that instead of expecting more from drivers we are expecting our cars to get us out of trouble - no matter how foolishly we drive.

    A final argument: Some of this stuff is highly intrusive and is ruining the funof driving; the DSC system on new BMWs, for example. Even when "off" it still regulates wheelspin - and has to be repeatedly turned "off" or it will cycle back "on" after a few minutes. Very annoying.

  6. #6
    DonTom
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    "Yes, I know at one time the average guy could maintain/fix his own car, but not anymore. Cars are now complicated, and do require expensive repairs, and most repairs you can't do yourself."

    IMO, the only big difference today is a better understanding of electronics is more helpful and having to spend more money on service manuals. A lot more money. About $500.00 for all the many shop manuals for a single car. No matter the cost, I buy them all each time I have a new car. These days one book only covers one section of the car. Some cars have about ten shop manuals. And sometimes you have to guess which one will explain your problem, so it's best to just have them all.

    I find that I can do most repairs myself as it's usually something electrical that breaks and I have been into electroincs all my life, both as a hobby and profession. However, the manuals can often make it easy for anybody who knows how to use a voltmeter.

    There's a lot less work to do on newer cars than the older cars, even though newer cars have a lot more junk in them and more things to break.
    -Don-


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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    I don't think Swamp's off-base in arguing it's becoming excessive. Many new cars now come with 6 or more air bags; how much of an actual reduction in real-world "risk" is achieved by adding multiple ai rbags?
    First Point: I think front, side, and curtain air bags are worth while. About 12 years ago, I was driving a BIGGGGG Buick (it was about an '85 - I inherited it from an uncle - a cream puff). Some bozo blew threw the light (musta been green my way for about 10 seconds), totaled my car. I was belted in, the the sideways force was sufficient to slam my head against the drivers side window, this in turn drove the stem of my glasses, into my temple. Also my left arm received a lot of the impact, and I'm left handed.

    I saw the medical bills - with physical therapy, ambulance, etc it was about $10k.

    Second Point: My 10 year old daughter was with me. I know you & I think in a similar fashion ( from reading your commonsense posts all these years), my mind instantly went to my daughter. Fortunately, she was not hurt. However - at that moment in time - you would pay any amount - for that kid not to be injured.

    Third Point: The savings in medical bills (to the economy) may (I don't know) net out the cost of the air bags?

    I do agree about the idiot proofing. Hey there's a lexus that will parallel park itself. I thought: if you can't parallel park you shouldn't be driving!


  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    I hear you... and I think we generally agree, also.

    I'm less hostile toward "passive" equipment such as air bags (though I would prefer they be optionally available and not mandatory equipment) than I am to "active" equipment such as electronic stability/traction control systems - especially those that cannot be fully turned off by the driver, if he wishes. There is talk of making the ESP a required "safety" feature on all new cars - which will mean the end of a great dealof what makes driving fun, especially if you are an enthusiast driver. As powerful/capable as cars like, say, an AMG Benz or BMW M are, I find them more trouble than they are worth - and would rather take my computer-free Trans-Am out for a run. Or my bike!

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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    I looked at a Honda Fit over the weekend -- and noticed that it didn't offer a stability system. For a car with such a short wheelbase and skinny tires, a stability system would be a good thing to have. Should you lose control, this vehicles characteristics would make it harder to recover from a spin.

    The 2007 Miata has it as an option, so I'm leaning more towards that car.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn't bashful about its reasons for pushing electronic stability control, saying that its studies show up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year could be prevented if every vehicle had the safety feature.

    Oh and we have the do-gooders down here advocating the same stuff.

    Bloody minded bureaucratic wankers who are struggling to justify their jobs!
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Probably Honda figures the typical Fit buyer is not going to drive the car especially fast. And today's econo-boxes are much more stable/better handling than their counterparts of, say, 20 years ago.

    As you know, I test drive a new car each week - and have been doing so for about 15 years now. I drive these things fairly aggressively, sometimes very aggressively. In almost every case, to push a car into a serious slideto the point where loss of control is an issue(and where ESP can save the day) takes considerable speed - the kind of speed that could arguably be called "inappropriate" speed, if it's beyond the driver's ability/skills to recover.

    In other words, driver error is the issue. Carrying too much speed into a corner, braking too late, abrupt transitions, etc. etc. Drive within reasonable limits (your own, especially) and the need for things like ESP slips to nil. I consider it idiot-proofing and would much prefer we focused on driver skill and judgment than on protecting ourselves from our onw stupidity. Or more precisely, making good drivers pay for the idiot-proofing necessitated by the pervasive incompetence of American drivers!

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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    In other words, driver error is the issue. Carrying too much speed into a corner, braking too late, abrupt transitions, etc. etc. Drive within reasonable limits (your own, especially) and the need for things like ESP slips to nil. I consider it idiot-proofing and would much prefer we focused on driver skill and judgment than on protecting ourselves from our onw stupidity. Or more precisely, making good drivers pay for the idiot-proofing necessitated by the pervasive incompetence of American drivers!
    Old engineering saying:

    Just when you think you've got it idiot-proof, somebody breeds a better class of idiot.

    All this complication & expense is of no benefit to 99.9% of drivers; it just allows the remaining .1% to have their crashes at higher speeds. Then, of course, the legislators will cry out for better protection from the results of stupidity.....the vicious circle continues unabated.

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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Just when you think you've got it idiot-proof, somebody breeds a better class of idiot.

    All this complication & expense is of no benefit to 99.9% of drivers; it just allows the remaining .1% to have their crashes at higher speeds. Then, of course, the legislators will cry out for better protection from the results of stupidity.....the vicious circle continues unabated.
    Did you read my response to Eric, about the crash I had with my daughter?

    I've responded to you more than several times, and you never respond back? Is there a reason for this?

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    Re: No U.S. Models Make List of Safest Vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong
    I've responded to you more than several times, and you never respond back? Is there a reason for this?
    I can't think of any specific instances, but maybe in some cases I haven't replied because I have nothing to add?

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