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Luxury Sedans, New SUVs Perform Poorly In Insurers' Crash Tests

March 19, 2003

The Associated Press (AP) reported thatluxury sedans from Lincoln, Nissan's luxury Infiniti arm, Honda's Acura brand, and Cadillac, fared poorly in the latest bumper crash tests by the insurance industry, sustaining more than $1,000 average damage when hit at five miles per hour.The AP further reported that two 2003 sport utility vehicles -- the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Volvo XC90 -- also were rated "poor" in bumper crash tests, citing the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2003 Honda Element SUV was the only vehicle of the seven tested that rated "acceptable," sustaining average damage of $537 in the four tests performed."The large cars we tested might be luxurious in terms of their style and amenities, but their bumpers are anything but luxurious. They don't bump," Adrian Lund, the institute's chief operating officer, said according to AP.The bumpers on the 2002 Acura RL and the 2003 Cadillac CTS failed to protect the body of the car while the front-angle crash broke the housing for a headlight on the 2003 Infiniti Q45, which had to be replaced at a cost of $858. That was nearly twice as much as the same part for the 2003 Lincoln Town Car, which was replaced for $435, AP said.According to AP, Lincoln manufacturer Ford responded that its bumpers meet or exceed government safety standards and also said the institute's tests "may not be representative of the type of damage that occurs in real world situations."In the head-on crash of the Volvo XC90, the front hood raised and the latch jammed, resulting in $774 in repairs, AP said. The entire bumper system had to be replaced after the rear-angle test, at a cost of $2,238.According to AP, Volvo responded that its damage totals were comparable to vehicles in its class and it also listed the XC90's safety features, including side-impact air bags and rollover stability control.The Mitsubishi Outlander, known as the Airtrek in some markets, performed worst in the rear-angle test, sustaining $1,217 in damage. Mitsubishi Motors told AP that the results were inconsistent with the company's own tests and pledged to work with the institute to improve its bumpers.
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