The Chevrolet Malibu, a midsize moderately priced car, has earned the 2014 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ award after structural changes improved its performance in the Institute's challenging small overlap front crash test.
In addition to a good small overlap rating, the 2014 Malibu also has good ratings for moderate overlap front protection, side protection, roof strength and head restraints and seats. Its optional forward collision warning system earns it a basic rating for front crash prevention.
For the 2014 model year, Chevrolet modified the Malibu's front structure and door sill to improve small overlap performance. The 2013 Malibu rated marginal in the test.
In the latest small overlap test, the driver's space was maintained well, and injury measures recorded on the driver dummy indicated low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. The dummy's head made good contact with the front airbag, which stayed in position during the crash, and the side curtain airbag deployed to protect the head from contact with side structures.
The Institute added the small overlap evaluation to its testing lineup in 2012. In the crash, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. It replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole.
To qualify for Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection, a good rating in the Institute's other four tests, and a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.