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Cadillac Joins Volvo, Subaru With Top Safety Ratings

A pair of Cadillac models by General Motors Co. are among seven vehicles that earned top marks in an insurance-industry group’s inaugural ratings of crash-avoidance technologies.

GM’s Cadillac ATS sedan and SRX sport-utility vehicle, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Subaru’s Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, and Volvo Car Group’s S60 sedan and XC60 SUV earned “superior” ratings for their forward-collision avoidance systems, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said today.

“Front-crash prevention systems can add a thousand dollars or more to the cost of a new car,” David Zuby, chief research officer for the group based in Arlington, Virginia, said in an e-mail. “Our new ratings let consumers know which systems offer the most promise for the extra expense.”

The insurance group added ratings of front-crash avoidance systems on model years 2013 and 2014 vehicles to its suite of crash tests on which it rates vehicles. The ratings influence car buyers’ choices.

The insurers tested automated braking and forward-collision warnings. Most manufacturers that offer the technology offer autobraking as an option. Only Volvo’s S60 and XC60 include it as standard equipment, the institute said.

Automated braking activates to slow a car so that it avoids rear-end crashes. The process occurs without a driver having to press the brakes.

Affordable Price

“We naturally expect to see consumers gravitate toward those vehicles that offer the most comprehensive suite of advanced safety technology, provided that this technology is made available at an affordable price,” Alec Gutierrez, a senior analyst at auto-researcher Kelley Blue Book, said in an e-mail. “With IIHS now including crash prevention systems in their ratings, consumers will find it far easier to identify those vehicles that are the safest amongst their peers.”

Six vehicles scored a lower rating of “advanced,” and 25 earned “basic” ratings when equipped with autobrakes and forward-collision warnings, according to IIHS. Another 36 models don’t offer front-crash prevention technology or have a system that didn’t meet the criteria IIHS set for the test.

The tests were done at 12 and 25 miles per hour (19 and 40 kilometers per hour) using an inflatable target. Mid-size cars and SUVs were the first to be tested in the new evaluation.

Last year was the first year since 2005 when deaths on U.S. roads increased, rising 5.3 percent to 34,080, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland has said technology that helps drivers avoid crashes -- rather than making cars better able to withstand accidents -- will bring the next big improvement in highway safety.

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