Not many cars have been able to ace the new battery of safety tests required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, there are only two. Volvo has always garnered high marks for safety, and that continues. The 2012 Volvo S60 is the latest car with just the right stuff.
Volvo and Camaro earn top marks
The NHTSA crash-tested 73 individual 2012 models. Of those, 21 earned an overall five out of five rating in multiple categories. But only the 2012 Volvo S60 and the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro earned top marks in every subcategory, according to information recently posted on the NHTSA website.
Highest rating for driver safety
The Swedish-built luxury sedan earned five out of five stars for driver and passenger protection in 35-mph frontal impacts, as well as in a 38.5-mph side-impact collisions and 20-mph side-impacts.
NHTSA ramps up testing standards
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ramped up its crash-test standards starting with 2011 models. Realizing that nine out of 10 vehicles tested garnered four and five star ratings in front crashes, side crashes and rollover resistance, the federal agency decided it was time to revise its standards for the first time in 30 years.
Automakers engineering to get high marks
Another concern prompting a change of standards was the NHTSA’s belief that some some automakers, aware of the agency’s antiquated standards, had specifically engineered cars to perform well in test conditions.
New standards don’t mean more safety
Because the NHTSA safety score combines star ratings from multiple types of impact tests, poor performance in one category could be masked by high scores in other areas. Automotive Fleet pointed out that owners with vehicles whose scores were lowered by the new standards should not assume their cars are less safe. Only the method of calculating the ratings has changed.