ARLINGTON, Va. — The Volkswagen Golf and its twin, the Volkswagen GTI, earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for good performance in each of the Institute's crashworthiness evaluations, including the small overlap test, and available front crash prevention. The two small cars, redesigned for 2015, offer an optional forward collision warning system that earns a basic rating.
In the small overlap test, the driver's space was maintained well and injury measures recorded on the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. While the dummy's head nearly slid off the left side of the airbag, the side curtain airbag deployed to protect the head from contacting side structure and outside objects.
The Institute introduced the small overlap evaluation in 2012. In the test, which is more challenging than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the IIHS moderate overlap test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's 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 utility pole.
The Golf and GTI are the latest Volkswagen models to earn a 2014 safety award from IIHS after the Passat qualified for Top Safety Pick. To qualify for Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection and a good rating in the other four tests. The "plus" is awarded to vehicles that meet those criteria and also earn a rating of basic or higher for front crash prevention.