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Crash Test Ratings
A crash test is a destructive real world test conducted on a passenger car to measure how safe it is and if it meets safety design standards. In the United States crash testing is conducted by the government funded NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Part of the NHTSA is NCAP which stands for New Car Assessment Program, which is responsible for the star rating system.
The star rating system is based on information collected from crash tests. The crash test results are summarized to consumers using a star rating system: the ratings range from from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. The crash test ratings for most vehicles include:
Front Impact Crash Tests. These tests report the results of vehicle impacts head on against a solid concrete wall at specified speeds. In some cases frontal impact testings is conducted in vehicle to vehicle tests.
Rollover Ratings Tests. This testings determines a vehicle's ability (primarily the structures supporting the roof) to support itself in a dynamic impact in which the vehicle is thrown upside down and rolls. See Rollover Crash Pictures
Side Impact Crash Tests. These tests measure how well a vehicle can protect against a side impact. Most vehicles do not have a significant crumple zone to absorb the impact forces and these test measure how much cabin intrusion can be expected at different speeds. See Side Impact Collisions Pictures.
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Crash Tests are based on Vehicle Weight and Class. NHTSA categorizes vehicles by class and "curb" weight. Curb weight represents the weight of a vehicle with standard equipment including the maximum capacity of fuel, oil, coolant, and air conditioning. Passenger cars are further subdivided as follows:
Passenger cars – mini (PC/Mi) (1,500-1,999 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – light (PC/L) (2,000-2,499 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – compact (PC/C) (2,500-2,999 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – medium (PC/Me) (3,000-3,499 lbs. curb weight)
Passenger cars – heavy (PC/H) (3,500 lbs. and over curb weight.)
Sport utility vehicles (SUV)
Pickup trucks (PU)
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