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The NHTSA just released side-impact crash ratings. MDX gets 5 stars for front and rear side-impacts. Scored a '4' for rollover rating, which was the highest among SUVs. NHTSA Press Release link.

No full-frontal crash results yet, but as you know the IIHS rated it a best pick and top scores ("good") in their offset crash test last year. IIHS thread w/link.
 

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Thanks! Here are some of my observations, feel free to jump in, especially if I've missed something.

On the good results:

First off, so far Acura has kept its word when it said that the MDX would get the highest score in the IIHS and NHTSA crash tests. The MDX performed extremely well in the IIHS test, and now has done well in the NHTSA side impact test. That bodes well for good performance in the NHTSA full frontal test.

Here's a link to NHTSA's list of 2002 SUV's and their ratings. If the SUV you're interested in isn't listed, or doesn't have test results shown, it may have been tested in another model year. (Note that for some reason the older years seem incomplete.)

http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCAP/Cars/2002SUVs.html

On the rollover resistance score:

The rollover resistance rating is controversial because it is only a static factor based on the height of the vehicle's center of gravity and measurements of the width and length of the vehicle. The MDX probably has a relatively low center of gravity and of course is wide. Thus the measurement is useful in discussing the general physical propensity of the vehicle to roll over.

But the rating doesn't measure dynamic tendencies like suspension tuning. And NHTSA says, "the Rollover Resistance Rating, however, does not address the causes of the driver losing control and the vehicle leaving the roadway in the first place," which is where stability control (and good driving techniques!) can prevent rollovers. NHTSA does think that stability control can help reduce rollovers.

Thus, I think Acura should still add VSA to the vehicle. It's great that the vehicle has good static stability, and the score is good news for the MDX. I just think that adding VSA in 2003 would be even better news!

Side impact rating:

Here are the details on the MDX side impact test:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCAP/Cars/2022.html

Good scores. I do think that side curtain airbags are less necessary in a higher-riding SUV, but are nice to have in the escalating standards of safety. I'm not sure if the NHTSA side impact test measures injuries to the head (e.g. if it bounces off a door sill), as they seem to only state pelvis and thoraxic trauma.

Nevertheless, Acura has definitely achieved some good results.

Summarized:

5 star NHTSA side impact (ties for highest star score among tested SUV's)

IIHS Offset Frontal Impact Best Pick (2nd of all SUV's tested)

Tied with only one other vehicle (Aztek 4x4) for highest rollover resistance rating among SUV's
 

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William, head injuries are not measured, so if the dummy hits the sill, as in your example, but still has a good chest compression factor, it will still get 4 or 5 stars. I hope that the NHTSA will use more advanced dummies in the future like their EuroNCAP counterparts, that can measure head injuries in side impacts.

FWIW, the 3015 pound barrier is roughly equivalent to a Toyota Corolla with 3 average sized adults on board.

<i>"How does NHTSA side-crash test and rate vehicles?

For testing side impact collisions, crash-test dummies are placed in driver and (driver's side) rear passenger seats, on the side of vehicle struck, and secured with the vehicle's seat belts. This test represents an intersection-type collision with a 3,015 pound barrier moving at 38.5 mph into a standing vehicle. The barrier is covered with material that has "give" to replicate the front of a vehicle. Since all tested vehicles are impacted by the same size barrier, it is possible to compare all vehicles with each other when looking at side crash protection ratings.

Side-collision star ratings indicate the chance of a life threatening chest injury for the driver, front seat passenger, and the rear seat passenger. "</i>
 

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Drew,

Agreed that NHTSA should measure for head injury in side impacts as well. Though I bet one reason they haven't is that the head injury factors in lower side impacts may not be quite as significant as the thoraxic and pelvic measures.

For example, in the EuroNCAP tests (www.euroncap.com) you usually see that the head fares as well or better than other parts of the body. Obviously some of that has to do with the height of the barrier. But I just looked at the side impact crash results of over twenty EuroNCAP tested vehicles and this was the case. Most of the time the head injury was "green" in their pictogram while there was another body part that was yellow or red.

Thus, I don't think NHTSA is necessarily missing too much by not testing the head. Nevertheless, it wouldn't hurt to add it in the future, and to also add the less statistically significant "pole test" as IIHS has been advocating and EuroNCAP performs.

BTW, why doesn't EuroNCAP test SUV's?
 

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wmquan said:


But the rating doesn't measure dynamic tendencies like suspension tuning. And NHTSA says, "the Rollover Resistance Rating, however, does not address the causes of the driver losing control and the vehicle leaving the roadway in the first place," which is where stability control (and good driving techniques!) can prevent rollovers. NHTSA does think that stability control can help reduce rollovers.
My experiences with the local fire dept are that most rollovers are caused by the vehicle leaving the road and then the driver losing control trying to get it back on.

They either get distracted, aren't paying attention, drunk or are sleepy. The car drifts off the road and they over correct getting it back on. Then the car swerves, tucks and rolls and finds itself on it's back after one or more rolls. Sometimes banking helps in this effect.

Would VSC help these over zealous reactions?

Chris
 

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As expected. Acura made a bold statement when(prior the launch) they claimed the MDX will get a 5 star safety rating. I am soooo glad they were right.

regarding VSA: i agree it should at least be an option. I am a big believer in Active and Passive Safety measures, and the VSA would definetly help in emergency situations. any news if the '03 MDX will have it?
 

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MDXLuvr said:
As expected. Acura made a bold statement when(prior the launch) they claimed the MDX will get a 5 star safety rating. I am soooo glad they were right.

regarding VSA: i agree it should at least be an option. I am a big believer in Active and Passive Safety measures, and the VSA would definetly help in emergency situations. any news if the '03 MDX will have it?
Am assuming why Acura can make a bold statement like that is because prior to the release of the MDX they probably did crash tests of their own that simulate EXACTLY as what the NHTSA and others.
 

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MGTD said:


My experiences with the local fire dept are that most rollovers are caused by the vehicle leaving the road and then the driver losing control trying to get it back on.

They either get distracted, aren't paying attention, drunk or are sleepy. The car drifts off the road and they over correct getting it back on. Then the car swerves, tucks and rolls and finds itself on it's back after one or more rolls. Sometimes banking helps in this effect.

Would VSC help these over zealous reactions?

Chris
It should, to a degree. Remembering that VSA isn't a panacea, here's what NHTSA says:

Electronic Stability Control(ESC),which is offered under various trade names, is designed to assist drivers in maintaining control of their vehicles during extreme steering maneuvers. It senses when a vehicle is starting to spin out (oversteer) or plow out (understeer), and it turns the vehicle to the appropriate heading by automatically applying the brake at one or more wheels.

Some systems also automatically slow the vehicle with further brake and throttle intervention.

What makes ESC promising for rollover prevention is the possibility that with its aid many drivers will avoid running off the road and having a single vehicle crash in the first place. However, ESC cannot keep a vehicle on the road if its speed is simply too great for the available traction and the maneuver the driver is attempting, or if road departure is a result of driver inattention. In these cases, a single vehicle crash will happen, and the rollover resistance rating will apply as it does to all vehicles in the event of a single vehicle crash.
The following FAQ from NHTSA includes the above quote, plus some tips on avoiding rollover:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCAP/Info.html
 
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