The Car Book Blog: Understanding Crash Ratings

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

With the release of the 39th edition of The Car Booknow available online—we’re sharing some of our best tips for car buying and maintaining your vehicle after you buy. The Car Book 2019 provides today’s car buyer with in-depth ratings of the 2019 vehicles, The Car Book’s unique crash test ratings, comparative complaint ratings, and all of the information needed to make a smart, safe and informed vehicle purchase. For online users only, the site also includes over 1,000 used car ratings going back five years.

We all hope to never be in a car crash. However, if you are, a car with excellent crash safety features can save your life or those of your family members.

So, you might ask, what distinguishes a safe car from an unsafe car? With rampant crash test “grade inflation,” it’s not as simple as looking for a 5-star safety rating from NCAP. That’s why The Car Book ranks vehicles on their relative performance–so that you can be sure that your family’s car is the safest on offer for a given year.

Each edition of The Car Book ranks vehicles from best to worst crash ratings for a particular category (subcompact, compact, intermediate, large, minivan, SUV, and pickup) for a given year. That way, you can easily compare cars when making your final decision!

When ranking cars by safety, we include data on the following tests:

  1. Frontal Test: The vehicle impacts a solid barrier at 35 mph. (60% of the total score).Image result for frontal car safety test
  2. Side Test: A moving barrier is crashed into the side of the vehicle at 38.5 mph. (36% of the total score).Image result for side collision car safety test
  3. Pole Test: The vehicle smashes into a vertical pole at the driver’s door at 20 mph. (4% of the total score).
  4. Image result for pole collision car safety test

Finally, we include the possibility of sustaining a life-threatening injury from each of these situations in our analysis to ensure that you and your family make the most informed decision possible. To go see our 2019 crash test rankings, visit or order a copy of The Car Book 2019 today!

If you haven’t already, be sure to join the Center for Auto Safety to get a full year’s access to Come back to The Car Book Blog soon for more insightful car buying information.

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