The IIHS tested vehicles equipped with a forward collision warning system, a system that uses cameras, lasers and radars to detect whether a vehicle is too close to another vehicle. It warns the driver of a possible collision through computerized voice and/or vibration in the seats. The system sometimes comes with automatic braking which significantly reduces the car’s speed upon warning.
The Buick Regal, 2015 Hyundai Genesis, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series and X5, and Cadillac CTS and XTS received “superior” ratings as their respective brakes reduced the speed by 3 mph or less.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is the only non-luxury car that earned the top rating. This is despite an investigation of a report that the sedan’s automatic brakes suddenly went off several times and eventually caused an accident. The IIHS spokesperson said the institute was aware of the investigation but did not have issues with the Impala it tested.
Some 2014 models such as the Infiniti QX70 and QX50, BMW 3 Series, Buick LaCrosse, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Lexus IS and GS, Audi A3 and A6, and Dodge Durango earned “advanced” ratings as they slowed down only moderately on warning.
Those that slowed down by less than 5 mph like the Toyota Avalon and Infiniti Q70 were given by the institute “basic” ratings.
The vehicles are tested at 12 mph and 25 mph.
The IIHS began testing forward collision warning systems last fall in hope that automakers will offer the system as standard equipment.
According to the institute, 40 percent of 2014 models offer forward collision systems as optional equipment and only 20 percent come with automatic braking feature.
Some automakers that offer the system as standard equipment at the time are Mercedes-Benz, Acura and Volvo.