The Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang are among America’s sportiest cars. But how do they fare in a crash? Thanks to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, we’ve got the facts—and some eye-opening video.
“When people think about sports car performance,” says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “safety ratings aren’t the first things that come to mind.” Seeking to change that state of affairs, IIHS recently subjected the three All-American muscle cars of 2016—Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro—to its full suite of crash test procedures.
So how did they do? Cutting to the chase: While they turned in fairly respectable performances, none of the three sporty cars earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick rating, alas. The Mustang came close but with only an “Acceptable” score in the new and demanding small overlap frontal impact test, fell a click short. The Camaro scored a “Good” ranking in the small overlap test, but scored only “Acceptable” in the roof strength crush test, and it lacks an active front crash avoidance system. The Challenger, introduced in 2008 and thus handicapped with the oldest platform of the group, earned a disappointing “Marginal” rank in the small overlap test. A breakdown of the test categories and results are found in the infographic below, courtesy of IIHS.
“Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it’s especially important that they offer the best occupant protection possible in a crash,” notes Lund. Of course, the best impact protection on earth is of limited value if you insist on using your smartphone behind the wheel, or if you drive like a jerk. For an eye-opening exhibition of the IIHS test procedures with a special focus on the small offset test, check out the video below. And please drive safely.