2009 Chevy Malibu vs 1959 Bel Air Crash Test | Consumer Reports

2009 Chevy Malibu vs 1959 Bel Air Crash Test | Consumer Reports


That’s the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety’s front crash of a 2009 Chevrolet
Malibu and a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air. In slow motion, you
can see the differences in how the new and
classic cars perform in this version of the
traditional frontal offset test. 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. 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.

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