The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan has been awarded the Gold Award in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards.
Vehicles that received Gold awards earned "good" ratings — the best possible — for front-, side- and rear-impact protection. Vehicles that were rated good for front- and side-impact protection and "acceptable" for rear-impact protection earned Silver awards…..
….."The new awards mean consumers can compare cars’ ratings more quickly and easily," said Institute president Brian O’Neill. "And when we test new car designs as they are introduced next year, it’s possible that some additional models will be added to the 2006 Top Safety Picks."
All of the winning vehicles have side airbags designed to protect occupants’ heads.
Audi/Volkswagen had 5 award winners (all silver awards) whilst the Ford Fusion / Mercury Montego twins were the only Gold winners in the large car category.
As Fred rightly notes in comments, Volvo are conspicuously absent in all categories, a fact the advertising boys in Detroit and Trollhattan would do well to mention in the next batch of safety-related advertising. Why don’t I think of these things earlier?
UPDATE: Via email, Saab USA’s Jan-Willem Vester does point out that two of the other award winners achieved their grades with optional equipment fitted. The 9-3 was tested as a standard vehicle.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to Ted, in comments, here’s a link to a Dateline TV report (USA) on video.
And finally, a Gold Award for TuuSaR for noting that the photo above is actually a 9-5 and not a 9-3.
Being squeezed by time whilst writing the post, I just picked the first photo I could find that looked ‘strength-related’. For all your edification, here’s a 9-3 getting crashed into as part of the IIHS tests.