ARLINGTON, Va. — The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a large luxury car, earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, thanks to a good rating in the challenging small overlap front crash test and a standard front crash prevention system.
The E-Class also earns good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations.
Beginning with 2014 models manufactured after January, Mercedes strengthened the footwell area of the occupant compartment to improve protection in small overlap front crashes. These changes apply to the 4-door E-Class models.
In the small overlap test, the driver's space was maintained well. Injury measures recorded on the driver dummy indicated that lower leg injuries would be possible in a real-world crash of this severity. The dummy's head was reasonably controlled by the frontal airbag, but it rotated around and hit the vehicle's A-pillar because the head and torso moved too far forward. The side curtain airbag deployed to protect the head from contact with other side structures. Despite the head contact, risk of significant injuries to the head and chest was low.
The Institute added the small overlap evaluation to its testing lineup in 2012. In the crash, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. It replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or object like a tree or a utility pole.
A standard forward collision warning system, called Collision Prevention Assist, earns the E-Class a basic rating for front crash prevention. When equipped with the optional Pre-Safe Brake system, the E-Class earns a superior rating for front crash prevention.
The E-Class is the fourth large luxury car to earn the Institute's highest award for 2014. To qualify for Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection, a good rating in the Institute's other four tests, and a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.