|2009 Chevy Malibu|
The institute conducted this test to commemorate its 50th anniversary and it dramatically shows how much improvement has been made in passenger protection since the nonprofit organization opened its doors. The two cars collide in an explosion of metal, glass, and plastics.
Where the Malibu crumple zone absorbs much of the crash forces ahead of the windshield the Bel Air structure allows the lighter car to compress the passenger compartment. The impact is made worse for the Bel Air driver by the lack of airbags, head restraint and even a seat belt. As a result injuries to the neck, chest, and both legs would be likely.
|1959 Chevrolet Bel Air|
Consequently, the Bel Air receives a poor rating across the board. On the other hand, the modern Malibu provides good protection with a dummy movement being well controlled. Measures indicate a low risk to most body regions though a foot injury would be possible. Beyond the safety gear, advancements in vehicle engineering give the Malibu a clear advantage in this match up.
While classic cars are often considered to be rock solid this '59 demonstrates how much better today's cars are and the IIHS has played a key role in driving these advancements. In the past 50 years, the Institute has made a real impact. The roads today are safer for it.