— Front crash prevention ratings will become as standard as crash test safety ratings now that 10 automakers will offer automatic emergency braking as a standard feature on all their cars.
The Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an organization funded by insurance companies, has been testing front crash prevention systems since 2013. Although some front crash prevention systems provide only a warning and then depend on a driver to intervene, IIHS is focusing on a technology called automatic emergency braking (AEB).
Automatic braking warns a driver in the event of an imminent forward crash and if the driver doesn't take action, the computer will intervene and apply the brakes. Automakers use a variety of systems that rely on radar, cameras and lasers, and not all systems perform equally.
In the most recent front crash prevention tests, 14 new models earned a rating of "superior" on a scale of "basic," "advanced" and superior. The scores are determined by how effective automatic braking performs at 12 and 25 mph.
Forward collision warning systems that meet qualifications set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and autobrake systems that provide only minimal speed reduction in IIHS tests earn a "basic" rating.
Vehicles that combine a warning with moderate speed reductions earn an " advanced" rating. It also is possible to qualify for an advanced rating with an autobrake system that doesn't first warn the driver before the system applies the brakes. Vehicles that provide major speed reductions earn a "superior" rating.
As noted below, the systems have different names based on the manufacturer of the vehicle. For example, BMW's camera-only system is called "City Braking Function" and is rated "advanced" when it uses only a camera, but the same system that uses both camera and radar is rated superior.
Front Crash Prevention Ratings - Superior
- 2016 Acura MDX / RLX (Collision Mitigation Braking System)
- 2016 BMW X3 (Collision Warning with Braking Function)
- 2016 Mazda CX-5 (Smart City Brake Support and Smart Brake Support)
- 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class / E-Class (Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Pre-Safe Brake)
- 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA (Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Distronic Plus)
- 2016 Acura ILX / RDX (Collision Mitigation Braking System)
- 2015 Chrysler 300 (Full Speed Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation)
- 2015 Dodge Charger (Full Speed Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation)
- 2016 Mazda6 (Smart City Brake Support and Smart Brake Support)
- 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class / CLA / E-Class (Collision Prevention Assist Plus)
Front Crash Prevention Ratings - Advanced
- 2016 BMW X3 (Collision Warning with City Braking Function)
- 2016 Volkswagen Golf (Front Assist with Autonomous Braking)
- 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen (Front Assist with Autonomous Braking)
- 2015 Volkswagen Touareg (Front Assist with Autonomous Braking)
- 2016 Volkswagen Jetta (Front Assist with Autonomous Braking)
The vehicles that did well in front crash prevention ratings still have problems in other areas. Click a model below to read owner-reported complaints about that vehicle or brand.
- Acura MDX / RLX
- BMW X3
- Mazda CX-5
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class / E-Class
- Mercedes-Benz CLA
- Acura ILX / RDX
- Chrysler 300
- Dodge Charger
- Volkswagen Golf
- Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
- Volkswagen Touareg
- Volkswagen Jetta