The stylish and delicate-looking front and rear bumper areas of most new vehicles are, just as they appear, damage-prone and expensive to fix, even from minor parking-lot-speed impacts. However the new 2010 Subaru Legacy fares well; in the latest round of bumper evaluations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it gets one of the best ratings yet.
The most impressive area of improvement was in the front full-width test, where the vehicle is run into a steel barrier that simulates another car bumper. In this, the 2010 Subaru Legacy sustained just $847 in damage, versus an estimated $4,049 for the previous 2007 Legacy tested. The IIHS attributes a wider and slightly taller front reinforcement bar for the improvement; in the previous test the Subaru's bumper had slid underneath the barrier, seriously damaging the hood, grille, and headlights.
Of all minor mishaps that can happen to your car in everyday use, parking-lot blunders are the worst. They might not affect how your car drives, but they often involve broken headlamps or taillamps and need to be fixed right away. What's more, they often total just a bit above the standard insurance deductible of $500, leaving you to pay most of it out of pocket. But with some cars totaling several thousand dollars from someone simply backing into you, it's in the interest of the insurance companies to push automakers to do something about it. In following, these results should help keep Legacy rates down.
"The Legacy leapfrogs the competition for bumper protection," said IIHS senior vice president Joe Nolan, in a release from the organization.
2010 Subaru Legacy 3.6R
2010 Subaru Legacy 3.6R
With the new test results, the 2010 Legacy places first among midsize moderately priced cars, for sustaining the least damage. Its overall weighted average damage for a low-speed impact is $855, the lowest of any vehicle in its class, and earning an 'Acceptable' rating. Placing second is the Mazda Mazda6, with $871 overall. Sustaining the most damage are the now-discontinued Pontiac G6 and Volkswagen Jetta, both at $2,922, and the Volkswagen Passat, at $2,653. Both of those vehicles are among many (including the older Legacy) rated Poor.
Surprisingly, the Legacy isn't the lowest. The top dodger of bumper damage in the IIHS lists is the current Ford Focus, with a weighted average of just $691.
The 2010 Legacy is already a high achiever in safety, with top 'good' results in all other IIHS categories and the group's Top Safety Pick designation. It's also earned five stars in the federal side-impact test and is one of just a few vehicles to achieve a top five-star rollover rating.
You can view the range of bumper-bashing results, along with a video of how bumpers are tested, at IIHS.org.