Most midsize cars recently tested for rear-seat safety failed to impress as Honda’s Accord drew a “rare” good rating.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested seven 2023 models in a newly designed front-crash scenario designed to examine rear-seat safety.
The next best performer was the Subaru Outback, which testers gave an acceptable rating.
Rounding out the test subjects were the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry, which rated marginal, and the Hyundai Sonata, Kia K5 and Volkswagen Jetta, all of which got poor ratings.
“In most of the midsize cars we tested, the rear dummy slid forward, or ‘submarined,’ beneath the lap belt, causing it to ride up from the pelvis onto the abdomen and increasing the risk of internal injuries,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a press release on the results.
“In the three poor-rated vehicles, measurements taken from the rear dummy also indicated likely injuries to the head or neck as well as to the chest.”
IIHS updated the test last year in response to evidence that risk of fatal injuries has increased in newer vehicles for belted rear occupants versus front-seat occupants because front seats now have improved airbags and seat belts uncommon in the back. It emphasizes that the back seat is still the safest for young children because they can get hurt by an inflated front airbag.
The Honda Accord got a good rating by demonstrating it provides “stellar” back-seat protection, preventing excessive risk of injury to a back-seat occupant.
IIHS said all tested vehicles provided good front-seat protection, though the Accord did show a slightly higher risk of right-leg or foot driver injury.