SAFETY: Mustang, Camaro, Challenger Fail To Perform On Safety Tests

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The three most popular performance coupes fail to earn top grades on safety tests, but one newcomer aces them all.

charger crash 16 iihs

This week, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Announced the results of its full range of safety tests for the 2016 Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger. None earned the Top Safety Pick rating, never mind the more difficult Top Safety Pick Plus rating that almost all affordable midsize and compact cars now are able to earn.

  Check out our guide to understanding crash test ratings here.

IIHS performance cars

The reasons varied. However, none of these three vehicles could even score Good on all its crash tests, something mainstream cars in all categories now do with ease.

In the case of the Ford Mustang, it was unable to meet the requirements of the small frontal overlap test.

The Camaro failed to meet the bar in the roof strength test.

The Dodge Challenger didn’t meet the IIHS requirements in the small frontal overlap test and also didn’t have head restraints that met the required grade. On the upside, past scores for these vehicles were much worse.

None of these three cars would have made the Top Safety Pick Plus level due to their lack of advanced or superior forward collision prevention (FCP) system. The Camaro doesn’t even have an FCP system at all.

Lexus RC safety

So are buyers in this class of sports coupe out of luck if they wish to own a vehicle that earns top safety scores? They are not. The rear-wheel drive Lexus RC-Series sports coupe earns top safety scores on all crash tests and also offers an Advanced FCP system. The Lexus RC F is no slowpoke either. With a V8 engine and 467 hp, it is well within the scope of high-performance cars the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger represent. Like the Mustang and Camaro, the Lexus also offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged option and also a V6 with over 300 hp.

IIHS President, Adrian Lund, summarized the round of testing, saying “Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it’s especially important that they offer their occupants the best possible protection in a crash.”

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