ARLINGTON, Va. — The 2015 Acura TLX, a new midsize luxury sedan, earns the Top Safety Pick+ award for acceptable performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front test, good ratings in four other crashworthiness evaluations and a superior rating for front crash prevention.
In the small overlap test, the driver space was maintained reasonably well, with maximum intrusion of about 7 inches at the lower hinge pillar. The dummy's movement was well controlled. Its head hit the front airbag and stayed there until rebound. The side curtain airbag also deployed and provided sufficient coverage to protect the head from intruding side structure and outside objects. Measures from the dummy sensors indicated that injuries to the left lower leg would be possible, but the risk of other injuries in a crash of this severity was low.
Introduced by IIHS in 2012, the small overlap test is more challenging than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the Institute's moderate overlap test. In it, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. The crash replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole.
The TLX replaces the TL and the TSX in Acura's lineup. The new car does better in the small overlap test than the TSX, which earned a marginal rating, but not as well as the TL, which earned the top rating of good.
Neither predecessor vehicle had available front crash prevention. The TLX has two front crash prevention options, a warning-only system that qualifies for a basic rating and another that includes both the warning feature and automatic braking. In track tests of the autobrake feature, the car avoided the target in 4 out of 5 runs at 12 mph and in all five runs at 25 mph, earning a superior rating.
The TLX earns good ratings in the Institute's long-standing moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Good ratings in these tests, a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap test, and a front crash prevention rating of basic or higher are the requirements for the Institute's highest award for 2014, Top Safety Pick+. The TLX is the seventh vehicle from Honda/Acura to earn the award. Another three, including the TL, earn Top Safety Pick, which doesn't require front crash prevention.