How Safe Is Your Car? What Latest Data Say

Article excerpt

Predicting the damage passengers and a vehicle might suffer in a crash is a complicated and inexact task. Driver influences--such as speed and attention to the road--use of safety restraints, and the unique circumstances that surround particular car crashes all contribute significantly to the degree of damage,

but can't be determined in advance.

Still, car size and design play an important role in the potential safety of a vehicle. You can get an idea of these characteristics by looking at insurance statistics on the relative frequency of losses experienced by particular models over several years.

The table that follows on page 20, compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI)--and available through its sister organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety--presents the injury- and collision-loss experience of 247 popular cars, station wagons, vans, utility vehicles, and pickups in the United States. The data are based on analysis of insurance claims for millions of 1996-1998 model cars from their first sales through June 1999 and are standardized for driver's age, to remove some of the influence of driver behavior. (The collision numbers were also standardized to account for deductible amount.)

Injury and Collision Loss Experience for 1996-1998 Model Cars

                                  Overall
Body Style/Model                  Injury    Collision    Theft

Four Door Cars
ALL VERY LARGE                      59          77        77
Mercury Grand Marquis               55          69        44
Ford Crown Victoria                 65          69        43
ALL LARGE                           73          79        54
Buick Park Avenue                   43          66        21
Buick LeSabre                       52          73        13
Buick Regal                         54          58        30
Oldsmobile Intrigue                 58          72        51
Pontiac Bonneville                  58          84        35
Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight             59          81        24
Chrysler Concorde                   68          56
Pontiac Grand Prix                  70          72        64
Chevrolet Lumina                    74          71        25
Mercury Sable                       77          76        55
Dodge Intrepid                      85          80
Ford Taurus                         88          79        66
Acura TL series                     100         137       243

ALL MIDSIZE                         105         98        131
Saab 900                            61          137       11
Buick Century                       62          68        10
Volkswagen Passat                   74          89
Infiniti 130                        75          113       182
Cadillac Catera                     76          110       76
Oldsmobile Cutlass                  76          65        24
Volvo S70                           77          108       55
Subaru Legacy 4wd                   79          112       58
Lexus ES 300                        80          96        156
Toyota Avalon                       80          90        88
Chevrolet Malibu                    87          72        42
Buick Skylark                       94          83        37
Toyota Camry                        95          85        96
Chrysler Cirrus                     95          86        80
Pontiac Grand Am                    106         93        48
Dodge Stratus                       107         87        79
Mazda Millenia                      107         150       256
Nissan Maxima                       109         121       424
Honda Accord                        109         88        58
Ford Contour                        112         89        58
Mercury Mystique                    113         86        40
Plymouth Breeze                     116         94        75
Oldsmobile Achieva                  117         97        28
Chevrolet Cavalier                  92          38
Mitsubishi Diamante                 124         139
Pontiac Sunfire                     125         102       33
Nissan Altima                       138         101       118
Mazda 626                           139         95        39
Mitsubishi Galant                   140         135       145
Hyundai Sonata                      199         147       103

ALL SMALL                           135         108       80
Audi A4 Quattro                     57          132       52
Audi A4                             65          133
Saturn SL                           99          82        23
Acura Integra                       108         155       427
Subaru Impreza 4wd                  115         2
Honda Civic                         121         100       80
Volkswagen Jetta                    133         132       96
Ford Escort                         139         106       67
Toyota Corolla                      141         117       106
Plymouth Neon                       144         104       105
Dodge Neon                          149         103       95
Mazda Protege                       149         122       60
Mercury Tracer                      152         111       51
Nissan Sentra                       170         121       77
Mitsubishi Mirage                   221         148
Hyundai Elantra                     228         147       94
ALL MINI                            170         130       60
Volkswagen Golf                     112         114       56
Geo Metro                           172         135       49
Hyundai Accent                      236         138       79

Two door cars
ALL LARGE                           79          84        70
Buick Riviera                       57          81        53
Pontiac Grand Prix                  63          87        94
Chevrolet Monte Carlo               80          87        51

ALL MIDSIZE                         109         108       85
Chrysler Sebring convertible        85          95        112
Acura CL series                     91          94        131
Pontiac Sunfire convertible         97          91
Pontiac Grand Am                    97          102       57
Chrysler Sebring                    100         120       168
BMW 318ti                           100         119
Chevrolet Cavalier convertible      109         110
Honda Accord                        112         96        108
Dodge Avenger                       121         129       96
Pontiac Sunfire                     122         122       46
Chevrolet Cavalier                  129         113       53

ALL SMALL                           130         125       136
Saturn SC                           103         87        18
Honda Civic hatchback               108         103       81
Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible      111         138       204
Acura Integra                       113         153       558
Honda Prelude                       116         143       107
Toyota Celica                       120         152       97
Eagle Talon                         125         155       147
Ford Escort                         127         109       68
Honda Civic coupe                   133         119       117
Plymouth Neon                       138         110       122
Dodge Neon                          142         115       100
Mitsubishi Eclipse                  146         151       183
Nissan 200SX                        159         128       88
Nissan 240SX                        161         189
Mitsubishi Mirage                   202         164       102

ALL MINI                            150         126       71
Volkswagen Beetle                   62          77
Volkswagen Cabrio                   99          97        122
Volkswagen GTI                      109         160       189
Geo Metro                           145         114       38
Toyota Tercel                       163         132       75
Hyundai Accent                      203         127       60

SPORTS CARS
ALL MIDSIZE                         110         152       141
Saab 900 convertible                58          127
Chevrolet Camaro convertible        99          155
Ford Mustang convertible            99          138       206
Mitsubishi 3000GT                   107         160
Pontiac Firebird 108                168         124
Chevrolet Camaro                    110         160       124
Ford Mustang                        123         147       140

ALL SMALL                           58          190       468
Porsche 911 Targa/Coupe             43          186
Mercedes SL class convertible       43          204
Chevrolet Corvette                  49          162

ALL MINI                            83          104       91
BMW Z3 Roadster                     59           90       95

LUXURY CARS
ALL VERY LARGE                      57          114       285
Mercedes S class long wb            45          160       920
Jaguar XJ8L/VDP                     51          221
BMW 740iL/750iL                     53          165       411
Lincoln Town Car                    60          106

ALL LARGE                           60          113       148
Lexus LS 400                        53          142       481
Oldsmobile Aurora                   53          85        94
Jaguar XJ8/XJR                      55          165
Cadillac Eldorado                   55          106       203
Cadillac DeVille                    56          103       67
Lincoln Continental                 58          82        74
Infiniti Q45                        63          124
Acura 3. …