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Old 13-09-2014   #1
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500L crash test safety

In the uk we all follow the euro ncap crash test safety system but in America they weren't happy with this and wanted something more rigorous, with a 'small overlap' test, this test has been around a while now and although the fiat 500L and the L treaking were really conceived to be a bigger 500 in a us market, fiat have screwed up big time with the 500L reviving a poor rating in the small overlap test



On top of this the 500L and fiats reputation in general is taking a beating with concerns over gearbox reliability and safety (another own goal for fiat)

On the dawn of the launch of the 500x it seems people are calling for fiat to sort of the issues with the L before launching any more problematic cars, I wonder with the damage seen to fiats reputation we will see fiat pull out of the US again an replace the fiat badge with a Chrysler one
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Old 13-09-2014   #2
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Why should the USA 'over lap test' be more convincing as to safety than what we have in Europe?..
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Old 13-09-2014   #3
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Re: 500L crash test safety

No car is going to handle the slight overlap test unless it is a tank...
...oh American cars are!

Seriously though, it provokes discussion and research so it can't be a bad thing. Clearly with such little overlap it is going to miss the chassis legs and therefore there isn't much strong stuff to take the hit - just plastic bumper, light and the wing before the A pillar.
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Old 13-09-2014   #4
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Considering the small overlap, the passenger cell stood up well. It has squashed the side and peeled it back a bit, but the main structure is mostly intact.
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Old 13-09-2014   #5
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Re: 500L crash test safety

I've looked at tests of the cars that have passed, and this is a big fail actually. Fiat will need to re-engineer it.
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Old 13-09-2014   #6
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Re: 500L crash test safety

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Old 14-09-2014   #7
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Re: 500L crash test safety


It can be done...

The problem is that the airbags too often allow the drivers's head to deflect into an unprotected corner by the A pillar. They are aware of this.
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Last edited by Ulpian; 14-09-2014 at 00:25.
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Old 14-09-2014   #8
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Re: 500L crash test safety

The whole reason that America introduced the small overlap is that many of the accident had in the US are subject to a very small overlap with what ever they hit, clipping a wall barrier or another car etc,

These day virtually any car sold in Europe gets a 5 star NCap rating but this test goes to shop the 500L the countryman and the golf all 5 star NCap cars but clearly the 500l wouldn't perform as well in certain circumstances.

As Dave pointed out many cars that look like they perform well still fail as the drivers head slips between the airbags to make contact with the A pillar,

The 500L (and the 500 too) failed because the safety cell was badly compromised where as other cars don't have this issue, must be especially annoying to fiat the the countryman did well as this is the car fiat were going head to head with when the launched the 500L
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Old 14-09-2014   #9
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Quote Originally Posted by Ulpian View Post
I've looked at tests of the cars that have passed, and this is a big fail actually. Fiat will need to re-engineer it.
I would imagine that it would need a completely new body shell design in order to pass that.

I am still curious what percentage of accidents involve a 'small' overlap like this compared to what NCAP test for.

Additionally they don't seem to simulating rear ending another vehicle but rather hitting something immovable like a bridge pillar, again how many accidents would be like that?
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Old 14-09-2014   #10
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Quote Originally Posted by MJG View Post
I am still curious what percentage of accidents involve a 'small' overlap like this compared to what NCAP test for.
i would think loads, people try to avoid some thing that comes to a sudden stop in front of them but just clip the edge. Someone using phone or other distraction and wanders into the lane some one is over taking it in....
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Old 14-09-2014   #11
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Quote Originally Posted by dave View Post
i would think loads, people try to avoid some thing that comes to a sudden stop in front of them but just clip the edge. Someone using phone or other distraction and wanders into the lane some one is over taking it in....
But that crash test doesn't accurately replicate that scenario does it?

If you clip the rear of a car like that it too will absorb some of the impact and will also to a degree be propelled forward thus reducing the impact and effect of the collision on the following car.

As I look at that test it only seems to replicate a collision with something big, immovable and non absorbing, like a bridge support. I am sure such collisions occur but it strikes me (no pun intended) such collisions must be much less common.

To me the NCAP test is more representative of what would happen rear ending another vehicle.
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Old 14-09-2014   #12
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Re: 500L crash test safety

people are always driving into trucks that have stopped in a traffic jam on a motor way, that would be big, immovable and non absorbing
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Old 14-09-2014   #13
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Quote Originally Posted by dave View Post
people are always driving into trucks that have stopped in a traffic jam on a motor way, that would be big, immovable and non absorbing
But at what angle?

Are there any stats to prove the USA test is more indicative of real life collisions than the NCAP one?

I'm not convinced TBH. Not least because lots of trucks have a collapsible rear guard and given the height of them driving into the back of one creates a completely different collision/impact scenario than the one replicated in the US test.
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Old 14-09-2014   #14
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Not sure whether this test is a good or a bad thing, it seems rather specific, I could design a test every current car would fail catastrophically but that wouldn't make it relevant ( crash into a wall fitted with scaffolding poles at windscreen height incase your wondering).

Strikes me that to pass this test you must engineer a huge amount of strength into a small area, is that a good thing in the event of a none offset accident? When your crumple zones don't because they've only got a fraction of the load they were designed for?

Edit: also I see the golf is fitted with the optional rear curtain airbags, personally I think all VAG cars should be docked an NCAP star on the basis its a family car yet there's no curtain airbags unless you pay for them.
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Old 14-09-2014   #15
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Re: 500L crash test safety

Quote Originally Posted by MJG View Post



I am still curious what percentage of accidents involve a 'small' overlap like this compared to what NCAP test for.



This is the iihs website which explains everything you need to know about the test it's self
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/rat...al-crash-tests

It's to simulate hitting an immovable object or a very small overlap in a head on collision with another vehicle

40% of Single vehicle crashes are subject to a small overlap according to a study by an American medical university, leading to a much higher percentage of head neck chest spine and pelvic injuries (those most likely to be life changing injuries) and 25% of deaths from frontal collisions involve a small overlap and when you take into account that there are 380,000 deaths on the road in the us each year (nearly 100 a day) that makes this test very relevant indeed

Also the iihs doesn't diminish what NCAP do they build upon it, saying cars are safer because of what NCap have done but there is still space for improvement.

Of the cars tests very only a hand full have performed well and several have achieved acceptable ratings, but many like the 500L have earned a poor rating

Essentially it's another tool to encourage manufactures to improve designs

Also iihs isn't an independent body like NCap so these test are important to the insurance industry which funds them to help evaluate car safety and calculate premiums accordingly
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