The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang miss out on Top Safety Pick status.
The latest American muscle cars offer significantly more performance than their predecessors from even just a few years ago, but there’s still room for crash safety to improve, according to a new round of tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Among V8 versions of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang, none of them scored the agency’s Top Safety Pick (TSP) honor.
To earn the TSP accolade, a vehicle needs Good scores in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint evaluations, and it also requires a Basic crash prevention system. “Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it’s especially important that they offer the best occupant protection possible in a crash,” says Adrian Lund, IIHS president.
According to IIHS, the ‘Stang comes the closest to being a TSP, but there’s room for improvement. The coupe has a Basic crash prevention system and scores Good ratings in four of the five safety tests. However, a Marginal small overlap rating keeps it from earning the award. The pony car’s roof buckled during the evaluation, and the door hinge pillar and instrument panel intruded into the cabin. The good news was that sensors found a low risk of driver injuries.
Chevy can celebrate the Camaro’s Good score in the small overlap test, and IIHS finds a low risk of injuries. The coupe misses being a TSP in part due to an Acceptable roof strength rating. It also lacks a forward collision warning system. When asked about the Camaro's performance in the evaluations, General Motors told Motor1: "We aren't commenting on the specifics of the IIHS tests."
The aging Dodge Challenger ranks the worst among this trio. It scored Marginal, the institute's second-lowest rating, in the small overlap test. During the evaluation, the wheel moved into the occupant compartment, which trapped the driver’s foot. Technicians had to unbolt the ankle to free the dummy. “Entrapment is pretty rare. That’s only happened five other times in a small overlap test,” Lund said in IIHS’ announcement. The Challenger also received Acceptable scores for both the head restraints preventing an injury and the strength of its roof. The Challenger does have a Basic collision prevention system, though.
In response to the results, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles told Motor1: "No single test determines overall vehicle safety. FCA US vehicles meet or exceed all applicable government safety requirements. FCA US urges all motorists to follow all applicable traffic laws and maintain control of their vehicles accordingly."
If you just want to watch the carnage, the video above shows the tests from multiple angles. Check out the clip below for IIHS' in-depth explanation of each vehicle’s performance.