Improved Test Performance Helps Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax Earn IIHS Top Safety Pick

Improved Test Performance Helps Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax Earn IIHS Top Safety Pick
Image: Buick
February 13, 2015

After a poor performance in previous years, the 2015 Buick Encore qualifies for a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The small SUV and its twin, the Chevrolet Trax, qualify for the award following improvements to the structure for better results in the small overlap front crash test.

The 2013 – 2014 models scored poorly on the test, which simulates when the front half of a vehicle strikes a stationary object, like a tree or light poll.

In the previous tests, the driver's space was seriously compromised with intrusion measuring more than a foot at the lower door hinge pillar. The dummy's head barely contacted the front airbag before sliding off the left side, as the steering column moved to the right. The side curtain airbag deployed too late and didn't have sufficient forward coverage to protect the head.

This time, performance in the test improved significantly. The driver space was maintained reasonably well, with maximum intrusion of 6 inches at the door hinge pillar and instrument panel. The dummy's movement was also well-controlled. The head hit the front airbag and remained there until rebound. The side curtain airbag deployed on time and had sufficient forward coverage.

Measurements taken from the test dummy indicated a low risk of injuries in a crash of this severity.

To qualify for Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection and a good rating in the Institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. The Encore's ratings in the latter four evaluations carry over from 2014.

The Encore earns a basic rating for front crash prevention when equipped with optional forward collision warning. No front crash prevention system is available on the Trax.