2010 Lexus HS250h And Suzuki Kizashi: Top Safety Fail?

June 18, 2010
2010 Suzuki Kizashi

2010 Suzuki Kizashi

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its latest test results—of two sedans, the hybrid 2010 Lexus HS250h and the almost-mid-size 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, for its new roof-crush test. And it's not all good news this time.

Both the HS250h and the Kizashi were given the 'acceptable' rating, meaning that they don't provide the best protection—and thus don't qualify to be given the sought-after Top Safety Pick designation.

The new roof-crush test helps gauge the chances of injury or fatality in a rollover by measuring how much force the roof will take, from a specific metal plate and roof location, before deforming five inches. That force is then compared to the total weight of the vehicle. Currently, the roof only needs to withstand 1.5 times the vehicle weight, but by 2016 a new standard requiring roughly double that will be phased in.

In this round of tests, the Lexus HS 250h withstood 3.60 times its curb weight, while the roof of the Kizashi took 2.92 times its weight. Unfortunately for Suzuki, that already puts the Kizashi near the bottom of the pack, among what the IIHS calls "midsize moderately priced cars." The only two vehicles that have been given the lower 'marginal' rating include the 2010 Kia Optima, and the 2010 Hyundai Sonata, which has already been replaced by an all-new 2011 Sonata.

Both the Kizashi and the HS250h have already earned top five-star ratings in all frontal and side crash tests from the federal government. While the HS250h has earned a 'good' rating from the IIHS in frontal protection, the Institute still hasn't yet tested the Kizashi for frontal or side protection.

Roof protection isn't exactly something you can add easily to a vehicle, so these two models might be saddled with these results for a long time.

Manufacturers can request a retest—usually at the expense of the automaker—if they believe that changes made to the vehicle might improve its performance. For instance, Mercedes-Benz did this in 2007 after scoring just 'acceptable' overall with the previous E-Class. A retest didn't improve its score, however.


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