General Motors shows the world that its Chinese made Buicks are just as safe as its U.S.-built models.
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) had never tested a Chinese-built model destined for the U.S. market until this week. Buick’s new Envision compact crossover aced its testing and has earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation, when equipped with optional equipment.
In its debut test, the 2016 Buick Envision scored “Good” on all its crash tests. This result shows that GM’s design and the Chinese build-quality match its other vehicles. That is not enough to earn the Top Safety Pick + designation, since IIHS toughened the standards. In addition, a vehicle must also have Advanced or Superior-rated Forward Crash Protection with auto-braking. Unlike Toyota and Lexus vehicles, which all come standard with this system for 2017, Buick makes its system optional.
The new Envision enters the U.S. market hoping to be a premium competitor to models from Lincoln, Lexus, Acura, and Mazda. This crossover is poised to be a top seller for Buick, which has now become a crossover company. More than half of Buick’s sales are now made up of the subcompact Encore, and the large, 8-passenger Enclave crossover. The new Envision will sit nicely in between.
The Envision is similar in size and mission to the Cadillac XT5 crossover, which was modeled after the Lexus RX, the top-selling premium crossover. With its trio of crossovers, Buick will now be GM’s premium brand with the most potential crossover sales. Cadillac has just one crossover.
Breaking down the Envision’s small frontal overlap test, we can see that the test dummy’s head goes between the front and side airbags. Normally, the forces on the head are high in that scenario, and the test is scored lower. IIHS must have recorded lower forces, despite the look of the crash results. The Envision also seems to have more than typical collapse of the front quarter with the wheel moving quite far back. Again, the results are dependent upon dummy forces and the Envision did well.
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