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Avalanche Crash Test Results In


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Jan 10, 2002
Edmonds, WA
These are the Federal Government crashing head on into a solid barrier at 35 MPH tests (not the Insurance Institute frontal offset test into a solid barrier at 40 MPH). The Avalanche crashed was a 1500 4WD model (say it isn't so!). It appears in the picture of the test to be a Forest Green Z-71. One thing not indicated or clear is whether the Avalanche was equipped with front bucket or a front bench seat.

The Avalanche received 3 stars for front driver and 4 starts for front passenger. Roll over and side impact have yet to be evaluated.

What does that mean? It means the driver has a 21% to 35% chance of having a serious injury and the passenger has an 11% to 20% chance of having a serious injury. Looking over the data the lowered results are clearly from the femur loads (amount of stress placed on the long leg bones). A rating of 1,605 on the driver's left leg is very high.

It does appear in the picture that the cabin held together well (don't see roof buckling). I don't know if the femur load is coming from poor seat belt design (causing the driver to slide down) or from cabin intrusion (dash board collapse, floor buckling, or the steering column bending and coming down on the leg).

Chest deceleration (amount of g' forces on the body) and head injury risk were all within the normal range of what would be considered safe vehicles (although head injury numbers could be just a tad lower).

Interesting the maligned "death seat" does not seem to be the case in the Avalanche, with the passenger fairing better in all scores.

You can see the rest results yourself:

I just love crash test ratings. Considering they have almost nothing to do with real life crashes. How often do you see a vehicle crash into a non moveable concrete block?

Take for instance, crash an AV into an Accord that isn't moving. The Accord would be history, but the damage to the AV would not be as serious, as if it crashed into the wall. Take and put both vehicles in motion. crash them head on, offset, t-bone etc... the results are going to be different everytime.

Put the AV up against a metro, doing the same thing. results will be different than those of the accord.

put the AV up against a semi truck. Again different results.

if they are trying to have a rating system, that is consistant through all lines of vehicles, they should take a sled that weighs so many lbs, and propel it at the vehicles. all the same sized rams, at the same speeds. This will give you a better baseline, then seeing what happens when the mass of the vehicle hits a non moving wall.
If this is a vote, I'll go for the Metro. ?Are you sure the collision wouldn't feel more like a speed bump? ;D

In all seriousness, I hope I never t-bone a sub-compact car. ?My 2500 would do serious damage. ?Knock on wood, the only accident I've caused is rear-ending someone during rush hour at low speed many years ago.
If it only gets three stars for the frontal driver rating, how do you think it will do in the Insurance Institute's offset crash test?

I must say I'm kind of disappointed with a 3-star rating. It makes it tougher to trade in a 5-star rating Windstar when you think about the safety of your family. I guess it would be worse if it were the chest or head that was taking the beating and not the legs.
Hard to say - there is no tying the two together. There are vehicles that have received a five-star rating from the government, and failed the insurance institute test. There are other vehicles that have done poorly on the goverment test, and have scored high on the insurance institute test.

In example the Ford F-150 got double five-star rating in government tests but an unacceptable in the frontal offset crash test from the Insurance Institute.

Here is the government findings and pictures:


Not bad ehhh? Take a look at the 5 MPH faster insurance institute test:


YIKES! Where is the jaws of life? Just goes to say what others have said - you can't read too much into these results. I know this much, if a Toyota Camry (top selling US car) runs a red light and I t-bone it, I'm walking away. Basic physics, I have more mass.
Besides mass of the AV vs. mass of what's being hit, there are other things that could go in your favor. Adjusting the seats so that the front of the cushion is all the way up and the back of the cushion all the way down so that your knees are higher than you hips will keep you in your seat better in the event that you have a head-on.

I've noticed that I seem to have less space for my knees in my AV than I did in my Grand Prix. I'm not bumping my kness on anything, it just seem more confined.

Out of curiosity, what affect does installing grill/brush/bull bars have on crash ratings?
Unfortunately, this isn't the way to start any holiday season :( but on Christmas day while at my parents house...a 00' ford explorer T-bones a chrysler lebaron..at the intersection needless to say the chrysler was in rough shape....

The explorer must have hit him sqare because he was all pushed in evenly across....anti-freeze everywhere...the guy in the explorer walked out of the accident with only a laceration on his hand...while both the guys in the lebaron had to go to the hospital suffering from internal injuries.... :cautious: