End-of-year lists are yesterday’s news. No, really, that’s what they are, but at least they’re usually interesting. This week the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety listed its top five most-watched crash-test videos for 2022. There weren’t many surprises on the list, except perhaps the surprise painted all over the airbags from the dummy’s marked-up faces. (Eds note: You're a big man cheap-shotting a dummy like that.)
The list contains many of the most popular or researched cars from last year, except for one specific anomaly but more on that later.
The fifth most-watched video is the 2022 Jeep Wrangler four-door crash test that notched a “Marginal” in the small-overlap crash test but looked like it fared worse on the video. The front driver-side tire buckles underneath the Jeep and the iconic SUV ends up coming to rest on its passenger side door—but set the crash to snappy jazz, and it almost looks like it meant to do that.
One rung above the Wrangler is its newest and most direct competitor, the 2022 Ford Bronco. The Bronco fared considerably better on the small-lap test, earning a “Good” rating from the agency. It bounces clear of the barrier, which simulates a front crash at 40 mph with an object that’s 25% of the vehicle’s total overall width, such as a tree or light pole.
A small surprise is the 2022 Subaru BRZ sports car coming in at No. 3, which is popular but not a mega-seller. The low-slung coupe is a Top Safety Pick+ winner (distinctions the Bronco and Wrangler didn’t earn, by the way) but I can’t help but pour one out for a wadded-up BRZ—they’re just underappreciated.
Coming in at No. 2 is the shocker of the list: a 2013 Chevy Spark. The video itself is nine years old, but for some reason, people couldn’t get enough of a small mini-car meeting its maker—violently. It earned an “Acceptable” rating for its front small overlap crash protection almost a decade ago, and it’s not bad. Still, the IIHS noted the dummy’s head slid off the left side of the bag and nearly contacted the A-pillar, which wasn’t protected by the side-curtain airbag.
Tesla Model Y
No. 1 on the list? The 2022 Tesla Model Y that not only glanced off the wall but also looked like it fared the best in the notoriously tricky test. Like the BRZ, the Model Y is also a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, and it’s easy to see why. Every subcategory in the crash was marked as “Good,” and it’s almost more surprising that the dummy didn’t hop out of the car and grab a coffee after the crash.
The video is a neat watch (with a jazzy soundtrack!) and useful insight into the folks that buy cars, crash them, then do it again tomorrow.
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