The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says sedans are getting more safe.
The IIHS, which is underwritten by the insurance industry, crash-tested seven '08 mid-size sedans for front, side and rear impacts in its most recent testing. The sedans -- Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Infiniti G35, Kia Optima, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima, and Saturn Aura -- and every one of them earned the top "good" rating for front-crash safety.
For side-impact ratings, each sedan save for the Kia Optima ranked "good," while rear crash test results were more wide-ranging. The Kia Optima did earn a "good" rating for head restraints.
The Institute notes that these crash test results are a huge improvement from four years ago. In 2004, the IIHS tested 10 mid-size sedans, says VP David Zuby, "and all 10 were rated poor in their standard configurations without side airbags." Side airbags are standard equipment on each of the cars tested this time around.
Individually, some cars were more dramatic in improvements, the Dodge Avenger and Kia Optima among them.
Rear crashworthiness ratings aren't as impressive, the IIHS adds. Five of the seat/head restraint combinations earn marginal or poor ratings.
See the complete results over at the IIHS' Web site.