The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a program called the 5-Star Safety Score that rates vehicles on two points: overall safety in crash tests and vehicle rollover results. Five stars is the program's highest rating. Recently, the 2014 Buick Lacrosse won the highest honors, earning a five star rating on the NHTSA test. This short, helpful post will review the relevant points of the safety test and explain how the 2014 Buick LaCrosse earned a five star score.
How Vehicles are Chosen for NHTSA Tests
If a vehicle is substantially redesigned structurally and is estimated to have high volume sales, the NHTSA may choose to run that vehicle through its rigorous safety testing program. The 2014 Buick Lacrosse safety rating is a result of this selection process.
The LaCrosse Safety Ratings Explained
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse received a five star overall score, a five star front crash test score, and a four star rollover crash score. This means that the LaCrosse ranks significantly higher in safety during crashes and rollover scenarios than others in its class. The NHTSA's official test results read as follows.
5 Stars = Side crash injury risk for this vehicle is much less than average
4 Stars = Side crash injury risk for this vehicle is less than average to average
How NHTSA Calculates Scores Using Class and Curb Weight
The NHTSA five star safety score is calculated by class of vehicle and what is called "curb" weight. Curb weight is calculated using a standard vehicle example (including a full gas and oil tank and full levels of other fluids). The NHTSA maintains seven vehicle classes, from light passenger vehicles to heavy pickup trucks. Each vehicle that is rated is compared only against like vehicles before being scored for its class. However, in the actual crash tests, all vehicles are hit with the same amount of pressure regardless of class or curb weight. Crash tests are performed from the front and side only because these types of crashes are credited with most fatalities. Because of this reason, it is possible to compare vehicles' safety ratings across classes and curb weights for side crashes and rollover ratings only.
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse Safety Features
The 2014 Buick Lacrosse safety rating was awarded in part based on these many inbuilt safety features. Here is a list of safety features included with the 2014 Buick LaCrosse design as outlined in U.S. News & World Report's Best Cars report.
Air bags- Driver side, passenger side, side head, and side air bags, rear head, and rear body air bags, making eight air bags in total
Four-wheel drive - Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard on the LaCrosse
Child-proof safety locks keep children safe
Control- Brake assist, 4-wheel disc brakes and rear wheel drum brakes
Stability- Electronic stability control and traction control come standard
IIHS Award Also Given for 2013 Model
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2013 Buick LaCrosse the "IIHS Top Safety Pick" award, as reported by Edmunds.com. The 2014 model has not been rated yet.
Given the high ratings from the NHTSA, U.S. News & World Reports' "Best Cars" review, Edmunds' review, and a pending review from IIHS, it is clear the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is in a safety class all its own.
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