IIHS Changes Side Crash Test To Simulate Impact From Today’s Heavy SUVs. Watch Several Midsize Sedans Get Rocked

Morning Dump Iihs Midsize Side Impact Test

Several midsize cars fare badly in the new IIHS side impact test, Volkswagen drops details on the new 62 kWh ID.4, the Nissan Maxima exits production. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

New IIHS Side Impact Test Proves Tough For Midsize Cars

Let’s face it, if I were to write a headline of Cars Get Clobbered In New IIHS Side Impact Test, the resounding response would be something along the lines of “No shit, Sherlock.” Still, a new side impact crash test sled used by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is really messing some new cars up. Here’s why the new test is so much more severe than the old one, as per an IIHS media release.

“With vehicles that sit lower to the ground, the striking barrier hits higher on the door panel,” says IIHS President David Harkey. “That potentially puts sedans and wagons at a disadvantage in this evaluation but reflects what happens in a real-world crash when these vehicles are struck by a higher-riding pickup or SUV.”


The updated side crash test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. The new barrier weighs 4,200 pounds — close to the weight of today’s midsize SUVs — and strikes the test vehicle at 37 mph, compared with a 3,300-pound barrier traveling at 31 mph in the original evaluation.

Oh yeah, an extra 900 pounds and six miles per hour will definitely do some damage. It’s no secret that new car buyers are addicted to SUVs and crossovers, and asking shoppers to not buy incredibly practical road hippos is like asking your teenage son to stop going through tissues so quickly. However, more force has to go somewhere, and IIHS testing found that many midsize cars direct it into their occupants. In a recent test of several midsize cars, the Subaru Outback did great and the Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta did alright, but the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry didn’t fare so well. The Accord earned a rating of Marginal, while the other three earned the lowest IIHS rating of Poor.

There was moderate intrusion of the B-pillar into the occupant compartment of the Accord. Injury measures for the driver’s pelvis were somewhat elevated, and the driver’s head moved downward past the side curtain airbag to contact the windowsill during the crash.

The Altima and Malibu showed substantial intrusion into the occupant compartment, but the safety cage of the Camry held up well. Injury measures indicated a high risk of torso and pelvis injuries for the driver in the Altima, a moderate risk of torso and pelvis injuries for the driver and high risk of pelvis injuries for the rear passenger in the Camry, and a high risk of head or neck injuries for the driver in the Malibu. In all three vehicles, the heads of either the driver or rear passenger dummy or both slipped below the side curtain airbag to contact the windowsill.

While injury measures are great and all, the most fascinating thing in this report is the fact that Chevrolet still sells the Malibu. In all seriousness, disappointing performance in this new test means that some cars could get screwy. As the IIHS sled impacts a test vehicle’s B-pillar, reducing cabin intrusion will likely mean beefing up B-pillars, which could compromise ingress, egress, and shoulder-check visibility.

[Editor’s Note: IIHS’s Small Overlap Rigid Barrier test led pretty much every automaker to build countermeasures into their vehicle structures, so we know that the Ruckersville-based lab’s work results in significant changes in automotive design. So how will this new side test change things? It’s hard for me not to notice that the only vehicle that scored a “good” rating on this side impact was the tall Subaru. Will this test, brought about by the prevalence of so many big trucks and SUVs on America’s roads, incentivize automakers to increase their vehicles ride heights? Obviously, there are plenty of negative repercussions to that (fuel economy, handling), so this test alone likely isn’t enough to do that. Still, will the new test require more weight to be placed up-high, increasing smaller vehicles’ center of gravity? I’m not entirely sure, but it does seem to me that smaller vehicles are going to have to be compromised in order to withstand crashes from big ones. I’ve reached out to the IIHS to learn more about what they see as next steps from automakers. -DT]

Volkswagen Spills More Details On The Cheaper ID.4

15728 2023id.4
Photo credit: Volkswagen

With American production comes a whole bunch of new stuff, from trim changes to a new battery pack option. Let’s break down the new entry-level 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 with its 62 kWh battery pack. Not only has Volkswagen released pricing of $38,790 including a $1,295 freight charge, it also predicts EPA range will clock in at a reasonable 208 miles. For context, that’s $2,455 cheaper than a standard range Hyundai Ioniq 5, $3,905 cheaper than a base-model Kia EV6, and $4,545 cheaper than a Toyota bZ4X. Wow. Alright, so what do you get for $38,790? In short, a lot. There’s no decontenting to make the 62 kWh version cheaper than the 82 kWh model, only a smaller battery pack. Horsepower remains at 201, while standard equipment gets a boost over last year’s model.

The 12-inch touchscreen that used to be an upgrade is now standard on the base trim, while all models get a stitched dashboard, leatherette seat bolsters, and a new steering wheel. Other standard equipment includes a perfectly alright seven-speaker audio system, heated front seats, and all the active safety items you could shake a stick at. While Volkswagen’s latest infotainment system is a bit cantankerous, we’re talking about an absolute ton of standard equipment here.

Medium 15733 2023id.4
Photo credit: Volkswagen

If there is a downside, it’s that the ID.4 loses its wonderful center console and armrest situation in favor of an Americanized (read: cheaper) solution. Instead of individual front armrests attached to the seats, the ID.4 now gets an armrest in the console lid. Come on, Volkswagen. That’s not very 1996 Lincoln Town Car of you. Still, at least the ID.4 should drive nicely. The early model I drove was roughly as quick as a Mark 3 Golf VR6, rode fabulously, and had a really nice chassis balance when pushed. Expect the cheaper 62 kWh ID.4 to enter production in the fourth quarter of this year, right on time for the holiday season.

AAA Exec Says Nobody Wants Autonomous Cars

 Dsc0099 C1
Photo credit: Ford

Want to know a simple rule of business? If you develop an idea, you have to know if people actually want what you’re cooking up, otherwise you’ll end up being the next Spotify Car Thing. As automakers pour billions of dollars into autonomous cars, both American Automobile Association engineering director Greg Brannon and the vast majority of the public remain unconvinced. Automotive News reports that Brannon recently said at a seminar that “There’s just no business case for full autonomy for individual ownership.” A harsh assessment, sure, but a fair one. Let’s see what else Brannon said.

Brannon told the audience that his blunt view was not merely his own. A survey of AAA’s 62 million members found that 77 percent of respondents said they wanted safer vehicles, but only 18 percent wanted a self-driving capability.

“Even for Level 2 autonomy, there’s no standard of safety for how it’s supposed to work,” he said of the early-stage partial driving automation called advanced driver-assistance systems. In those systems, a vehicle can control both steering and acceleration and deceleration.

“Just because you can pass a very low bar of a standardized test for a particular system does not mean that it’s effective,” he said.

I’m glad someone’s calling bullshit on this whole privately-owned autonomous vehicle pipe dream. While autonomous vehicles may make sense in certain situations like fleet use where human drivers are capped on hours, privately-owned autonomous vehicles don’t solve traffic or any other real infrastructure issues. Plus, imagine the investments that could be made in advanced materials and chassis tuning if manufacturers weren’t spending all this money on autonomous cars.

Nissan Maxima To Exit Production

2019 Nissan Maxima 6
Photo credit: Nissan

The writing was on the wall. Car And Driver reports that after 42 years atop Nissan’s range, the full-size Nissan Maxima sedan is getting sent to the shadow realm in the middle of 2023. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised that Nissan’s full-size sedan is being put out to pasture as it’s a six-year-old product and nobody’s buying full-size sedans these days. The Maxima’s only remaining competitors are the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and upcoming Toyota Crown. The first two are revised versions of cars that dropped during the Dubya administration, while the Toyota Crown will serve a loyal customer base as everyone who owns an Avalon will live to be one hundred and eleventy. The Maxima, though? Decades of “four-door sports car” marketing can’t save a car that’s smaller and more expensive than a midsize Altima. However, if you bumped In Search Of… regularly, you’d know that No-one Ever Really Dies. Check out what Car And Driver has to say.

Another Maxima may still be in the cards, however, as Nissan’s official statement says that the company is “prioritizing electric vehicles” and advises us to “stay tuned for future Nissan Maxima news.”

Is it just me, or does this read like the most flagrant teaser possible? I’ll admit, I don’t exactly know what this statement means, but I can take a guess. Nissan’s statement appears to insinuate that the Maxima will return as an EV, and Car And Driver reports that it won’t be a crossover.

Nissan Sedan
Screenshot: Nissan

Back in February, Nissan announced on a webcast that two new electric vehicles were coming to its Canton, Miss. plant in 2025, then released a bit of a teaser. If you skip to time stamp 24:50 in this video, you’ll see something with a very sedan-like silhouette. A full-size electric sedan from a retail brand sounds like it would be a terrible business decision. I love it.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the end of the work week. To celebrate, let’s play a game. Mercedes has her massive fleet, Jason’s cornering the market on non-functional transportation, David probably has tetanus, and I have the constant odds-and-ends of relying on a 16-year-old BMW as my only car. Matt, however, needs a suffer car of some sort. So, what should Matt get?

Lead photo credit: IIHS

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112 Responses

  1. If you want Matt to suffer:

    Chevy Chevette

    Black paint with the mandatory split/coming apart black vinyl seats

    Factory no A/C car so he cant even dream of fixing it to blow cold again

    Saving the best for last, diesel with automatic. You will be passed by the school bus its so slow

  2. If the goal is to find a suffer car, lets find something that will maximize the suffering.

    I vote for any of the K-cars that came with a digital dash. It will be a slow, ugly, unreliable crapbox that is very expensive to fix and has little value!

    1. About 20 years ago there was a garnet red Lagonda in regular summer use in Boone, NC. I was one bay over from it at a coin-op car wash once and tried to strike up a conversation with the owner. He was minimally polite and whatever drool I left was easily washed away.

  3. I think we’re seeing the last generation of the sedan. American companies hardly make them anymore anyway. What will be interesting is if current SUVs and trucks get taller. One reason people give for buying them is being able to see over other cars, but once they’re all tall, will SUVs have to maintain that advantage?

      1. They’re ready for the apocalypse. But last winter I-95 in Northern Virginia was gridlocked, for miles and miles, for up to 12 hours. Know how many of those lifted trucks got off the road and made it home? As far as I can tell, and I’ve looked, none of them

    1. I’ve never really understood this. All the cars that I know of reach all the way to the ground – I can see where they are. I can see when they’re braking. I can almost always see when the car in front of them is braking, often through the glass of the car ahead. I can see when they’re changing lanes, and even better in the impossibly rare cases in which they signal first.

      I suspect that Jason had it right: most people don’t actually like driving, and many are just flat out afraid of it.. They want to be as far away from the road as possible, consciously or otherwise.

      Doesn’t really matter though. Those of us who like actual cars have already lost on this issue. As in some other issues which have become social. Cars are not coming back.

    1. I’ve changed my mind based on comments on this and other recent articles.

      He should drive an HD truck daily, use it for towing and hauling, and write positive articles about it, because the amount of hate that still shows up around here is absurd.

      1. It’s fine if you drive a big truck because you actually need the capability on a regular basis. However, outside of farmers and construction workers, few people actually need the capability of an HD truck (hell, even a midsize) more than a handful of times per year, if that. There are a lot more trucks (and large SUVs) on the road than there are people who actually use their abilities in any significant way, and there are a lot of people who bulk up their trucks with lifts and stances, actually harming their vehicles’ ability to do Truck Stuff, just for the sake of looking tough.

        If you drive a Super Duty that’s covered in concrete dust and has a mixer and shovels in the back, I have no problem with you. If you’re towing a trailer full of landscaping equipment, I have no problem with you. If your truck is shiny and bright and has a 4″ lift, a bunch of extraneous lights, an oversized tailpipe, and nothing in the bed—well, it’s a free country but I really wish you would fucking get over yourself.

        1. I wish I knew why it bothered people so much. If wastefulness is your criteria, well trucks are hardly alone.

          Plenty of sports cars out there not driven on tracks. Plenty of 3 row SUVs with 1 or 2 people in them. Plenty of modified cars that do nothing but drive to shows.

          Only trucks get the hate, it’s frankly weird.

          1. “If wastefulness is your criteria, well trucks are hardly alone.”

            My entire adult life, people have been trying to convince me that Kindergarten teachers are liars. But they’re not. Two wrongs still don’t make a right.

            “Plenty of sports cars out there not driven on tracks.”

            You don’t need to be on a track for a sports car to serve its purpose. You doubly don’t need to be on a track for a sports car to serve its purpose and get 2-3x the fuel economy of a crew-cab with significantly better safety to the world around them.

            “Plenty of 3 row SUVs with 1 or 2 people in them.”

            I assure you that they get at least as much hate as trucks being used needlessly.

            “Plenty of modified cars that do nothing but drive to shows.”

            Which is their purpose and doesn’t happen multiple times a day all week long.

            Frankly, what’s weird is why anybody thinks the hate is unjustified. It’s justified. People should be ashamed.

          2. Well, you can enjoy a sports car without taking it to a track. 3-row SUVs *do* get hate similar to trucks, and for similar reasons. Modified cars that only get driven to shows? That can be a little silly, but mostly it’s people just harmlessly enjoying themselves. You hardly ever even see them on the road, since by definition they only go to shows. Driving a giant truck though when you don’t need one is incredibly wasteful and causes unnecessary danger to those around you, so it takes a particular kind of selfish dickishness to go down that path. Again, the same can be said for large SUVs.

        2. Bingo. These people are cashing in on, unearned, on the ethos of people, “Real Americans™,”” who actually use their trucks for truck reasons, especially those who are making a living with them.

  4. Seems like the only way cars at normal ride height are going to ace the new side impact test is to put in a rigid cage, 4 point belts and start playing pinball.

    The energy has to go somewhere, and if you’ve maximized your crumpling absorption already, transferring it to your neighbors is all that’s left.

    Instead I’m sure manufacturers will just make visibility substantially worse by thickening pillars and raising door sills, leading to more accidents.

    Matt should get supercar to daily. Preferably an old one that has the wrong powerplant. A DeTomaso Pantera with a Camry 5S-FE 4 cylinder, something along those lines.

    1. Putting in a cage would work to stiffen the passenger compartment, certainly. Then we would have to mandate halo seats and helmets, because bonking one’s head against a B pillar roll cage bar can also do a lot of damage (ask me how I know).

      1. Agree. Defensive measures, other than raising the height of the vehicle, are just never going to be practical. Unless those defensive measures are pushed onto party who’s causing the problem in the first place: the raised vehicles.

        It’s of course never going to happen, but mandating that all road legal vehicles had a forgiving crash barrier installed at a maximum height above the road ought to be a fairly simple and inexpensive technical solution.

        Looking at my own vehicles, the middle of the bumper on my lifted Cherokee is pretty much where my head is when I sit in my Corvette. Even worse, if I ever hit anything smaller than a car, chances it’ll end up under the Jeep. Biclycles, pedestrians, strollers, mutant turtles jumping up through man holes.

        Let’s put Torch on solving this. I’m sure he could whip up a drawing of a shock absorber supported rubber barrier that would hang low under a lifted truck, but could also easily be pulled forward and out of the way when the clearance is actually needed (mall crawlers can save money and just skip the move-way parts).

        Again, this will of course never happen.

        DT asks: “Will this test, brought about by the prevalence of so many big trucks and SUVs on America’s roads, incentivize automakers to increase their vehicles ride heights?”

        I think we all know the answer to that is “yes”.

      2. I’m thinking ejection seats are the only possible solution.

        A pop-off roof panel is easy — Tesla had that one worked out — and a package with small rocket underneath and a ‘chute would wrap it up nicely.

  5. IIHS: Seems to me they are ramping up the “tests” in order to stay in the news and, perhaps, keep funding coming in. It should surprise nobody that a crash test can be devised that will wipe out the test dummies in ANY vehicle.

    That said, some of their past work has been beneficial, but perhaps encouraging manufacturers to cut back on the overweight Monster Trucks would be a more sane idea than putting the onus on makers of more compact vehicles armor-plate them further.

    Also: does IIHS do any testing on what happens to battery packs in heavyweight crashes? That might be useful.

    I would just tell Mark to pick one out of David’s Fabulous Automotive Collection and have at it. Or check out the “Barn Finds” site. He’s sure to find a car there that a) would be wonderful with a lot of work and coin thrown in, or something that no rational human would ever want in their driveway.

    1. I wish insurance companies would base their rates not only on the amount of damage a vehicle sustains in an accident, but also the amount of damage a vehicle CAUSES in an accident. That by itself would disincentivise buying personal battering rams to go shopping in.

      1. You and Maymar are the best – as economists say, a proven way to start to deal with negative externalities like this is to establish prices.

        As in, right now, it’s essentially free to pose a danger to others but costly to protect against that danger. Clear prices allow the market to function both better and more equitably.

    2. Very much this. One way to reduce the size/mass of SUVs would be for the CAFE standards to get rid of the vehicle footprint accommodations and go back to the way they were. And also get rid of all of the commercial tax deductions for these vehicles.

        1. Transportation is a cost of business, just like computers, office space, and raw materials. Trying to benefit particular constituents through the tax code distorts the natural economics.

          The “working vehicle tax break” is why real estate agents, dentists, and lots of other small businesses buy vehicles way larger than they otherwise would choose.

          1. The things you mention can also be depreciated as business assets.

            The tax code is much less friendly to luxury SUVs and short bed pickups than it used to be (the Hummer loophole is capped at $24K, the vehicle needs a 6 foot bed to be fully written off).

            Trust me that dentists and real estate agents would be buying Escalades and GLS SUVs regardless of tax provisions.

      1. Include yearly registration taxes based on weight and structure them so that 3000lbs and under are basically free and then charge significantly for every pound above that. Sorry, GM. Gates, Bezos, and other billionaires would be the only ones able to afford your obese Hummer EV.

        1. They don’t. They just screw the business less than a private owner. Taxes you pay are money the government takes from you. So many people to think it’s the governments money. It’s not. And suggesting taking more to get your personal opinion is wrong. Also you charge a business more gas, food, auto etc results in higher prices for everyone. Including poor people. But hey make taxes higher and give money to poor people. This is a flawed system that never works.

          1. A tax break is giving you, the beneficiary of said break, the government’s money by reducing what you owe as a citizen. This could be intended to drive behavior, it could be corruption. There is a societal cost to driving large, inefficient vehicles, whether it be resource usage and pollution, enhanced wear on infrastructure, or decreased pedestrian safety outcomes, to name some. You can still like cars and it doesn’t make you a bad person to like big cars, but incentivizing commercial operators to use larger vehicles via tax breaks is directly using tax dollars to subsidize these costs.

          2. Yes they do.

            Taxes you pay is money (not “are”) we all get. You, me, everyone. You may not agree on how we all decide to spend that money, but that is beside the fact that government in a democracy is, by definition, all of us.

            Also, behavioral taxes is one of the most efficient tools we have to steer society in the direction we want. Again, you may not agree on that direction, but that is works is simply a fact.

    3. Considering this testing is ostensibly being run by the insurance industry, I would hope eventually they’ll start testing for the damage your vehicle is capable of inflicting in addition to the damage it’s capable of withstanding, and bake that into insurance rates.

    4. These tests are usually fodder for broadcast network news magazine shows when they need a low energy segment to fill a hole in the schedule.

      I get pretty bored with the “we just made up a new test that no car has ever been designed to pass and they all just failed it, so the one we told you was really safe a few months ago is now a death trap according to us” hysterical press releases the IIHS puts out. Part of me feels a bit like they served their purpose, they fulfilled their original goal of making cars a lot safer, time to pack it in, go home, and find something else to do with the rest of their lives, call it mission accomplished

      1. The thing is, they didn’t make up the new test out of thin air. They made it up because it more accurately reflects the types of collisions that are happening in our current automotive landscape, where vehicles are much taller and heavier on average than they used to be. It’s not a meaningless attention grab, it’s an adjustment to keep their test results relevant and useful.

        That’s not to say I don’t have issues. I wish they would put more emphasis on how dangerous a vehicle is to those around it, rather than just how safe it is for those inside. I wish they would take driver visibility into account. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to make an impact test harder to pass when the impacts happening in the real world are getting more severe.

      2. They didn’t all fail, though. I, frankly, want to know that getting t-boned by a bro-dozer is less likely to shatter my pelvis in some cars than others. Testing conditions should attempt to be a proxy for real world conditions, and good science is updating your assumptions and models as your conditions change.

      1. I hear what you’re saying, but this is unreasonably pessimistic. Existing vehicles in the same classes perform starkly different. There are current vehicles that are achieving “good” scores where others are “poor”, which suggests this can be solved without highways turning into battle bots. When I see this, I do wonder how it reflects on a given manufacturer’s commitment to safety. Subaru trades off safety, and ends up anticipating more difficult tests. Honda apparently does not? The Pilot also did poorly in this test, iirc.

  6. Based on the behavior I see by the average driver I think that we need some limits put on vehicles via some autonomous driving controls. Many people don’t seem to grasp they are navigating 4000+ pounds at speeds that can cause terrible damage. Cell phones, grooming, eating, picking up dropped items, intoxication, impairment by age, etc. I see it every day. Computers are good at monitoring the boring stuff while we are distracted.
    “77 percent of respondents said they wanted safer vehicles, but only 18 percent wanted a self-driving capability” I’m betting that self driving cars are actually much safer than 50% of drivers today.

    1. It might be more appropriately called “ageless impairment”. Although the stereotype is old people, most drivers, perhaps up to 85% are relentless, aggressive morons who cannot see themselves as part of the driving community. They believe they’re the only driver on the road and make decisions solely based on their interests. “Give and take” does not exist for these assholes. I have strong misgivings about autonomous controls solving our problems – any or all of them. These assholes need training… perhaps in a highway constrution zone.

    2. Yes the government should take over all of our lives. Decide what’s best for us. Our jobs, who needs artists and poets just slackers. They decide what you eat. This mush paste is 100% of all your dietary needs it just tastes like crap. Housing every gets 1 room. Meal halls for everyone no need to waste space for a kitchen in every apartment and house.
      I mean they do so well with what they run now of course everything will be perfect. I don’t understand people stepping out and supporting a government mandated takeover of our entire lives. If that’s what you want join a commune and leave me out.

      1. I like to see opposing points of view – so please, make one. This is just a generic rant. You are free to be the contrarian, but work harder. Knee-jerking 1984 responses ain’t gonna cut it.

  7. Considering how well the Outback did on the new side impact test, I wonder how the Legacy would fare. It’s the same structure, but slightly lower ride height. It would probably do worse, but worse enough to get a lower rating? Don’t know why they didn’t test the Legacy since it’s a more direct competitor to all those other sedans as opposed to the Outback. Probably because more people buy the Outback since it’s a pseudo-crossover.

  8. The best way to survive an impact, is to avoid it in the first place. I’m still riding motorcycles, so these tests are meaningless. I accelerate, or brake, or maneuver rapidly to get out of the train’s path. I don’t try to have a vehicle that will let the train hit me. That’s stupid. The same reasoning applies when I am driving my Miata. An SUV hits me in that, and I’m toast.

    This is the wrong approach, and tries to solve the problem by adjusting the wrong variable.

    The IIHS be damned. I never liked the way insurance people think anyway.

  9. For Matt’s suffering:
    David pretty much has the US crapcan market covered.
    Torch has a good handle on rare-ish small foreign cars.
    Mercedes has cornered the market on Smarts and is trying to do the same for VWs.

    What I don’t see covered are French, Italian or British makes.
    Maserati Biturbo
    Citroen CX
    Jaaaaaaag XKS

    Hell, he could get all 3 for < $20K. The resulting stories would double the daily content on the site!

  10. Great, more reasons for people to insist they “need” an SUV. Also – with SUVs and trucks dominating the road, the whole “I like to see over other vehicles” thing is pretty much moot at this point. Another question – how much worse does the average vehicle perform in these tests if the test was to simulate getting hit by a new Hummer that weighs 9000 lbs+? That is f*ing scary to think about….

  11. I think it’s time to do something drastic about the size of new cars. Automakers creative solutions to the CAFE standards is creating all sorts of problems that we don’t need

    Its easy to imagine the how much more efficient and safe our roads would be maximum curb weight for a new car was 2000 lbs. Anything over that requires a DOT number and everything that comes along with it.

    Range would suffer in electric cars but the increased efficiency of gas models would more than make up for the loss. Even if we mandate electrics, people drive too far as it is and the world would adapt in a positive way.

    1. I think 2k would probably be a bridge to far, but 3500 max for unibody and 4600 max curb for body on frame (with some extra hippo tax to prevent truck building) would be do-able. A 92 2wd suburban weighed around 4600 curb, and most midsized and well equipped sedans can easily meet 3500. Mini-vans, large suv’s etc would have to really work on cutting the fat. Maybe an extra 10%ish curb for electric.

  12. So I guess the only safe vehicle for sale these days is a school bus. Do they come in silver? Added bonus: they already come with 24.5 inch black wheels, so stylish.

    Full-length 66-passenger version for families, short bus for sport, 66 with the roof cut off over the last 3 rows for a pickup, add a trunk there and it’s a “coupe.” Coming soon to a dealer near you.

    Miss Mercedes, you’re ahead of the curve!

  13. You might call the Maxima a full-sized sedan, but to me it never really was a full-sized sedan.

    It may have fit into the EPA class by technically measuring large enough inside (I really don’t know), but it’s really a largish midsize sedan in appearance, presence, comfort, and capability. That’s I never seriously considered buying one. It seemed so very small for the price.

  14. My vote would be for Matt to find a nice coastal lived jaguar xjs v12 with all the trimmings but has been sitting for a couple decades. That should provide enough wiring corrosion to give him the feel for the environment.

  15. The only option is to design cars that go UNDER the brodozers! Build a car like a horseshoe crab and be done with it!
    The OTHER only option is to build active defenses. Raise a steel plate from a slot on the door once a radar/lidar whatever detects oncoming tanks on a collision course!
    The THIRD only option is to combine the above. Eject a radar operated ramp that General Lees the approaching SUV missile into the schmuck next to you. I want to see crash testing evolve to take THAT into account. Reinforced roofs? Helps in case of a rollover as well!
    But, seriously, there has to be a limit to car height and mass. Limit their size or limit their speed. God devised cars as nimble and small things, and trucks as huge and slow beings. By eroding and subverting this order Man (and Woman, of course) is tinkering with forces that (S)He don’t fully understand. It is against Nature. No wonder S(H)e is trying to kill us so hard!

  16. Suffer car: Malaise era something or other from the Big 3. Honestly doesn’t matter what, provided its too big.
    I think there was a Dodge that fit the bill on the Shitbox showdown a little while back.

  17. On crash testing / beltlines / ride height, etc. :

    There’s two ways to win a war: either you get bigger guns/tanks/planes than the other guy or you all agree to lay down your arms and step back from it.

    I figure that there’s no real way we’re going to get all of the automakers to voluntarily agree to step back from the battle and down-size the vehicles back to something less… overgrown, so what we’re going to get is continual escalation – IIHS says “wow, these really big cars are a major risk to passenger safety”, automakers respond with “Ok – we’ll make ’em bigger to take the hit”, lather, rinse, repeat. Consumers aren’t going to voluntarily pick smaller cars because they see the crash results vs. the Beheamoth XL and say “whoa – not getting one of those little death-traps!”. Automakers see the small car market dwindling…

    My mother-in-law went car shopping a while back and (aside from ease-of-entry) her #1 priority was “BIG – everybody else in our area has these huge SUVs and I just don’t feel safe around them in anything smaller”. Trying to point her to something like an Outback (with amazing snow/weather capability and fantastic safety scores) got no traction – wasn’t big enough/tall enough.

    1. Small cars cost almost as much to manufacture as bigger vehicles, but consumers expect them to sell for a lot less, so automakers have to take a thinner profit margin. They can charge much higher msrps for big trucks, and the bigger it is, the higher the price and consumers are happy to pay it. There’s no financial incentive to steer people into something smaller, unless that’s somehow all your company sells, and there isn’t really any out there like that anymore, since the Japanese, South Koreans, and even MINI have all embraced big light trucks

  18. We obviously can’t stop making vehicles bigger and heavier, because profits!

    Therefore, I think it is time we finally ask the question: Do we really need side windows in sedans?

    You’ve already got a blind-spot indicator to allow you to change lanes without looking. Why else would you need to look over there? I think we need to embrace the dark nothingness of our future sedan cabin, the Dystopia Cocoon (trademark pending).

    Kill the part of your soul that connects you to the world around you. Shun the light and warmth of the sun. We must do whatever it takes to protect the sacred rights of the drivers of the Cult of BAV (Big-Ass Vehicles) to express their freedom to collide with the wretched plebeian scum who cling to the sedan-sized filth of the past, without troubling their conscience about the families who may potentially be murdered inside.

    Pledge fealty to The Large. Worship at the altar of 22-inch wheels. Roll coal until the planet itself burns. What a glorious day!

    1. “You’ve already got a blind-spot indicator to allow you to change lanes without looking. Why else would you need to look over there? ”

      Because if that sensor is blocked or out, you’re about to swap paint with whatever car is in the lane next to you. Those things are tools to help with driving and not a substitute for responsible driving behavior.

  19. The IIHS exists to frighten so people keep paying attention to them. Not enough people pay attention to side impact ratings? They’ll find a reason to claim safe cars are now unsafe, who cares about the consequences.

    I am still mad about what they did to headlights, deciding that every new car needs the brightness of a thousand Suns to not be a death trap. Which has only made things less safe IMO because of how often I get blinded by stock headlights cresting a hill and pointing at my eyeballs or reflecting off glare. Seriously I can barely see in night+rain+city traffic because the glare off puddles is brighter than anything I need to see

  20. For suffer car, I vote for something ginormous like a Ford excursion. Something that will always just be a pain in the ass to drive because it’s so huge. Actually, make it tall too as well like a full sized cube van. Then you can’t even park in a garage. Even better, something more than 11′ 8″ high, so you have to plan your routes carefully if you have to drive in places like North Carolina.
    Added bonus, people will always be asking you to help them move.

  21. “Matt, however, needs a suffer car of some sort. So, what should Matt get?”

    I can’t decide.

    An Aston Martin Lagonda – ha ha ha, good luck with the electrical on that motherfucker. I won’t touch it under $500/hr actual. 1970’s “computers,” a stack of CRTs and ‘digital’ displays, an engine cast from the finest swiss cheese, and wiring made of strings.

    Or a Ferrari 348. “Wait, that’s a Ferrari. And the 348 is appreciating. It’s a good car.” HA HA HA FUCK NO.
    I actually know someone who owns a 34k mile 348tb. Quote C&D’s review: ‘there is the inexcusable handling. This car feels as if it had four-wheel steering—with the rears steering in the wrong direction. Above 70 mph on twisting, undulating blacktops, the rear gets antsy. It wants to step out as you pick up the arcs of curves. Above 100 mph on such a road—particularly in a crosswind—the car is difficult to hold in one lane.’ I got to drive it once when it was running (more on that in a second.) C&D is severely underselling it. Much better, grippier tires only made it worse. Attempting to drive even moderately quickly, the rear can’t pick a lane while the front doesn’t want to change lanes. This would be bad enough.
    But it never, fucking, runs. Not 500 miles after it had an engine-out service, the ECU just died. Not 500 miles after that, a lifter failed and wiped a cam. Not 500 miles after that, the dash quit working. They bought it with 30k miles on the odometer about 20 years ago and haven’t been able to physically put more than 5k on it. Oh, and the fuel lines have had to be replaced something like seven times due to leaking or being cooked, the catalytic converters had to be replaced due to oil dumping (they literally poured liquid oil out when removed,) and it doesn’t even sound that good when it does run.

  22. Unpopular opinion, but what about a federally mandated bumper/grille/hood height. Isn’t there something like that already like a 30″ height limit? Or does it vary by state or vehicle, or is just poorly enforced?

    1. I’d been in favor of having the same CAFE standards for light trucks as for passenger cars, since most light trucks are just used as passenger cars in practice.

      For the people that do use them for work, oh well, the manufacturers will just have to find a way, though. Maybe you’ll still have the same payload and towing, but take a few seconds longer to hit 60 with a smaller engine, oh well, TS.

  23. I don’t really morn the loss of this Maxima BUT I did really like its sorta stealth reveal at the end of the Nissan Superbowl ad in 2015. The father and son one.

    Great ad. Mostly seemingly for Nissan’s motorsports efforts, but still…

  24. SUV’s have successfully ruined everything including cars that aren’t SUV’s. I vehemently believe that giving SUV’S a higher bumper structure placement than cars by standard is a horrible mistake that forces people to buy SUV’s if they want to be safe from the danger of other people in SUV’s. We can easily mount the impact structure lower, and that would save many lives and millions of dollars in damage (any time an SUV hits a sedan it misses the sedan’s crash structure, going straight into the engine and cabin). There may be exceptions for actual off-roaders, but nobody’s Equinox needs a better approach angle than someone else’s Prius for anything that an Equinox will ever be used for.

    1. We might be starting to see this happen, actually. A lot of new EV crossovers look more like extra-big hatchbacks, and a lot of why they look that way is that their bodywork comes closer to the ground for aero reasons. Consumers don’t seem to mind the look, and most of them probably don’t think about the impact on approach angle (What percentage of the population even knows what an “approach angle” is? 0.1%?) nor will they ever have cause to because their vehicle will still go everywhere they need it to. EV buyers ate obsessed with range (rightfully so, in my unpopular opinion) and better aero means more range, so consumers will be pushed toward these designs more than they are currently.

      There may yet be hope.

    2. But more importantly, I think Matt needs to get a car someone else has already modified. Ideally something with and engine and/or transmission swap, lift or lowering kit and a standalone ECU. Navigating someone else’s handiwork is truly the highest form of purgatory.

    1. I second this, while also knowing that VW already makes a fast(er) ID3, but it’s not sold here, just like the regular ID3

      When my GTI finally expires (will probably end up rolled over at the track), I want to get an electric replacement, but, since I’m not buying an SUV or anything made by Hyundai/Kia, the Model3 is not a hatchback and Polestars are too expensive for what they are, I really have no good option at this moment.

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