Crash-test results mixed for Mustang, Camaro, Challenger

May 25, 2016

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) took America's three iconic performance coupes and, instead of hustling them down a curvy road or heading to the drag strip, the crash testing agency smashed them into a wall.

The findings may surprise you.

CHECK OUT: Ford Mustang Vs. Chevrolet Camaro: Compare Cars

IIHS tested 2016 versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Dodge Challenger, in a variety of conditions—moderate overlap front, small overlap front, and side impact. The agency also looked at the cars' roof strengths and evaluated their head restraints.  

Chevrolet's Camaro is the newest design of the three and it earned the best rating in the group's challenging frontal offset test, which evaluates how the vehicle's A-pillar structure holds up in an off-center accident. However, the Camaro doesn't offer a collision avoidance system, and didn't perform as well in the roof-crush test, meaning it couldn't be awarded the Top Safety Pick prize.  

The Ford Mustang performed the best of the three, needing only an improvement in the small overlap test to advance to Top Safety Pick status. One advantage of the Mustang over its rivals, IIHS says, is that it offers a collision avoidance system that can bring the vehicle to a halt in order to prevent a collision if the driver doesn't react quickly enough.

On the other hand, Dodge's Challenger, admittedly a nearly decade-old design, didn't fare as well. IIHS found significant intrusion into the driver's footwell in the small overlap test. IIHS says that engineers had to actually unbolt the driver's seat in order to remove the dummy because intrusion into the cabin was so bad. That's something IIHS has only had to do a handful of times.

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