The 2012 Hyundai Azera, which went on sale earlier this year—and is quite highly rated here at The Car Connection, especially due to its standout design and luxurious, full-featured interior—already has an impressive set of standard safety features. There are a total of nine standard airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and rear side-impact bags, and the front seat design is one that's impact-reducing in itself. Also, the Azera includes a rearview camera system in each of its trims. And in new IIHS tests, it completely swept the ratings matrix, with top 'good' scores in all the subcategories of frontal and side-impact testing.
The new Malibu Eco almost swept the board, with top ratings in all of the IIHS's subcategories; the sole exception was an 'acceptable' score for driver torso injury. In the relatively new roof strength test—a measure that correlates to the likelihood of injury in a rollover accident—the Malibu Eco was able to withstand 5.22 times its body weight in a particular test area of the roof.
Withstanding 4.76 times its weight, the Azera also earned a 'good' rating. In any case, that was a substantial improvement over the previous (2011) Azera, which had earned 'acceptable' ratings for rear and side impact.
The Malibu, on the other hand, has been a top performer for several model years. Although we should caution that these results don't extend to the rest of the (non-Eco) 2013 Chevy Malibu lineup, which hasn't yet gone on sale.
Neither of these models has yet been rated by the federal government, as part of its new-car assessment program (NCAP) crash tests, but we'll update our review pages as soon as they're available. In the meantime, if safety is one of your top priorities, both of these roomy sedans deserve to be on your shopping list.
And go here to see the full list of 2012 Top Safety Picks.