The all-new 2003 Honda Pilot and 2003 Acura MDX are the first midsize sport utility vehicles ever to earn the Federal government’s top Five Star safety rating for the driver, front passenger and rear seat passengers in both front- and side-impact crash tests, according to information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Achieving the highest possible all-around NHTSA test ratings for Pilot and MDX further demonstrates our commitment to safety,” said Dick Colliver, American Honda executive vice president. “The Pilot and MDX are the latest products to showcase the company’s world-class safety technology.” The front- and side-impact crash tests are part of NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that provides consumers with safety information on the two most common injury-causing crashes. In frontal tests, vehicles are crashed at 35 mph into a rigid, fixed barrier. The side crash is conducted with a moving, deformable barrier impacting the vehicle at 38.5 mph. Vehicles are given a rating from one to five stars, with five stars indicating the best level of crash protection. The company says all 2003 Honda Pilot and 2003 Acura MDX models feature advanced dual-stage, dual threshold driver and front passenger airbags which can deploy at two different rates, depending on the severity of the crash. In addition, if the occupant seat belt is not fastened, the airbags deploy at a lower collision speed to help offer more protection to the unbelted occupant. Both Pilot and MDX are also equipped with Honda’s advanced side airbag system that include cutoff systems to prevent the side airbag from deploying if a child or small statured adult is leaning into the side airbag deployment path. Both Pilot and MDX bodies were designed to deform progressively in front and side collisions. Engineering the front, side and rear sections to help absorb the energy of a collision reduces the likelihood of occupant injury. The reinforcing structures enhance collision protection and provide the added strength for cargo carrying, off road performance and towing. Both Pilot and MDX were designed and developed primarily by Honda R&D engineers in Ohio and California. Both Pilot and MDX are built exclusively at Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario.