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Car and Driver: Mustang, Camaro, Challenger Fall Short in IIHS Crash Tests

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Dodge Challenger crash test

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After publicly shaming several domestic full-size pickups for subpar crash-test results, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has now turned its attention to another group of America’s sweethearts: muscle cars. V-8 versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang have now undergone the full battery of IIHS crash testing, and all three fell short of the Top Safety Pick rating. Although the IIHS doesn’t typically test sports cars, it decided to do so because of Highway Loss Data that points to high crash rates for these three cars. 

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The Challenger fared worst of the three, no surprise considering it’s significantly older than the Ford and the Chevy. Although it earned “Good” ratings in the moderate-overlap front and side-crash tests, the Dodge only scored “Acceptable” in the roof strength and the head restraint/seats metrics and “Marginal” in the difficult small-overlap front crash test. That result rendered it ineligible for the Top Safety Pick award, which requires “Good” ratings in all crash tests and a forward-collision-warning system rated at least “Basic” (which the Challenger does have).

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Ford Mustang crash test

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The Mustang, which was redesigned for 2015, and Camaro, which is all-new this year, did better. The Ford only missed one TSP requirement, earning an “Acceptable” rating in the small-overlap test. The Camaro earned a “Good” rating in that rigorous test, but was only rated “Acceptable” for roof strength test, and does not offer a forward-collision-warning system.

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These three models are among the few sporty cars IIHS has tested. The Nissan 370Z, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Audi TT, and Infiniti Q60 have all avoided the the group’s scrutiny so far. But there are sporty cars that earn the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick + ratings, including the Volkswagen GTI, the BMW 2-series, and the Lexus RC.

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Camaro crash test

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