Two GM SUVs score ‘good’ ratings in new crash testing

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DETROIT — Only the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain survived the challenging new small-overlap crash test for mid-sized SUVs from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with a “good” rating.

The Equinox, Terrain and Toyota Highlander earned a top safety pick+ award in the test. But the Highlander received an “average” rating from the group.

Introduced in 2012, the small-overlap test re-creates conditions in which the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or object. During the test, the front quarter of the driver side of the vehicle collides with a barrier at 40 mph.

The test differs from a head-on collision because the front-end crush zone is bypassed, which can result in the passenger compartment collapsing.

“When it comes to mid-sized SUVs, General Motors is showing the way forward,” David Zuby, IIHS vice president, said in a statement. “The Equinox and Terrain score well in all components of the small overlap test — structure, restraints and kinematics, and injury measures for four body regions.”

The IIHS said that the Equinox and Terrain were able to outperform the other SUVs tested because of modifications on 2014 models to the front structure and door-hinge pillars. In the Equinox, the crash test dummy’s movement was controlled and the airbags worked as expected.

The worst-performing mid-sized SUV was the Honda Pilot, in which the driver’s space was “seriously compromised by intruding structure” during the crash. In the worst impact, the parking brake moved 16.5 inches inward, the steering column shifted 5.2 inches to the right and the dummy suffered injuries to the left hip, knee and lower leg.

Also receiving a poor rating was the Mazda CX-9, which had its hinge pillar intrude 17 inches, bringing the left driver-side wheel even with the dummy’s knee. The door frame was so damaged in the crash that the dummy’s head struck it after impacting the front airbag.

The Ford Explorer had its door hinge pillar nearly severed from the door sill in the impact, which led to a moderate overall rating from the group, but a poor structure rating. The Kia Sorento earned a poor overall rating due to poor structure and lower leg and foot scores.

You can reach Sean Gagnier at sgagnier@crain.com.

From Automotive News

Science Bolsters 2014 Chevrolet Impala’s Seat Comfort

“DETROIT – Crafting comfortable car seats takes more than high-tech tools like seat pressure mapping systems and a multi-part mannequin that feeds data into a comfort dimensioning system.

As helpful as they are, there is no substitute for an element of human fine-tuning, or putting butts in seats.

General Motors’ human factors engineers who understand biomechanics, psychology, quantitative research and ergonomics, applied all these disciplines to help make the seats comfortable in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

Science Bolsters 2014 Chevrolet Impala’s Seat Comfort

GM seat comfort lab manager Jill Green uses a robot to test the comfort and integrity of the Chevrolet Malibu seat cushions and frames, a process used for the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala as well. The robots simulate a variety of body types entering, sitting and exiting the vehicle.

Customers for each car segment want more or less support and rigidity in their car seats. What the car will be used for – such as commuting, city driving or track racing – helps engineers establish precise parameters of comfort. Finding the “sweet spot” for each vehicle doesn’t come easy.

For the new Impala, volunteer seat testers ranging from 5th percentile females (5 feet tall, 110 lbs.) to 95th percentile males (6 feet tall or taller, 223 lbs.) spent hundreds of hours and logged thousands of miles in prototypes of the redesigned flagship sedan to evaluate seat comfort.

Seat testers typically drive or ride in prototype vehicles for several 60-minute intervals at a time recording initial feedback after the first 10 minutes. At each 60-minute interval, they numerically rate every aspect of the seat: cushion, backrest, lumbar support, headrest and side bolsters.

But tester feedback is subjective and design changes are often subtle because seat designs evolve from past programs and reams of data collected with precision instruments.

“Developing comfortable seats is both an art and a science,” said Jill Green, GM seat comfort lab manager. “Knowing how to translate a physiological impression into tangible design elements is the art, and knowing how to execute the design is the science.”

Seat tester evaluations alone would have been insufficient to achieve such results. That’s where tools like Oscar come in hand. The mannequin-like tool made of steel, plastic and aluminum is assembled in 18 removable parts weighing up to 170 pounds. Early in the Impala’s development, Oscar helped determine the overall dimensional layout of the interior, allowing engineers to make the best use of space.

Science Bolsters 2014 Chevrolet Impala’s Seat Comfort

GM seat comfort engineers, including Jill Green pictured in the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Malibu, use state-of-the-art digital pressure-mapping technology to scan the rear-end impressions of people of all shapes and sizes over the seat surface, creating a map with more than 4,600 data points

State-of-the-art digital pressure-mapping technology was used to scan the rear-end impressions of people of all shapes and sizes over the seat surface, creating a map with more than 4,600 data points. A laptop computer used the data to generate graphics illustrating how occupants sit in the seat statically or while driving.

The Impala’s front seats are heated and ventilated, and bolstered for greater support. The seat cushions are designed to provide a firm, premium feel. LS models feature cloth seats, while LT comes standard with cloth/vinyl seats. Sueded microfiber-trimmed seats are available on LT and LTZ models, which feature standard perforated leather seating. Standard on LT and LTZ models, rear-seat headrests fold to improve rear visibility when there are no back-seat passengers.

Car reviewers have noticed the attention paid to Impala’s seats.

“After hours in the driver seat, we found ourselves just as fresh as we were before we set out,” wrote Mark Takahashi, automotive editor, Edmunds.com. “The outboard rear seats have enough head- and legroom for the average adult male to remain comfortable for extended trips as well.”

From GM News….

Five Years Late…

Five Years Later, OnStar Still Slowing Down Car Thieves

Nearly 250 cases so far and more expected as public safety officials get familiar
2013-10-10
DETROIT – Nearly 250 times in the last five years, a signal to an OnStar-equipped stolen vehicle has helped stop a car thief in the act, gradually and safely slowing the vehicle to avoid a high-speed chase.

OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is one of three Stolen Vehicle Assistance tools OnStar offers subscribers. A Remote Ignition Block makes it impossible to start a stolen vehicle once turned off. And a GPS location can be provided to authorities once a vehicle is confirmed stolen.

OnStar worked closely with law enforcement in the U.S. and Canada to develop and modify the services to ensure best practices would be followed.

“Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a prime example of a safety service that our customers rely on us to provide,” said George Baker, emergency services outreach manager, OnStar. “We have a strong relationship with law enforcement that has allowed us to refine our processes, promote teamwork and more quickly recover stolen vehicles for our subscribers.”

Since OnStar began in 1996, more than 59,000 stolen vehicles have been located using OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Assistance services. Over the past year, Detroit, Houston, St. Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles were the top metropolitan areas for Stolen Vehicle Assistance requests.

OnStar executes five to seven Stolen Vehicle Slowdowns a month – a number trending upwards as the Public Safety sector becomes familiar with the service.

“This slowdown service is a perfect example of the technologies available to law enforcement agencies to keep our citizens and officers safer on the road,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Here are three high-profile Stolen Vehicle Slowdown cases in the service’s history:

First SVS Carjacking: A California resident was carjacked at gunpoint early one morning in 2009. After OnStar located his stolen Chevrolet Tahoe, and police had it in their sights, OnStar was able to safely slow the vehicle and the suspect was apprehended. Less than 16 minutes after OnStar was contacted, the Tahoe was safely recovered. Read more on the story here.

Congressional Recovery: In May 2010, a Chevrolet Impala belonging to a state senator was stolen from a parking lot. Upon realizing it was stolen, the senator quickly contacted OnStar, which alerted the county sheriff and confirmed the vehicle was being treated as stolen. OnStar then provided officers with the vehicle’s GPS location. When the officers had the Impala in sight, they requested Stolen Vehicle Slowdown be initiated, the vehicle was disabled and the suspect was taken into custody. Read more on the story here.

Stolen Vehicle Standoff: In Shreveport, Louisiana, the owner of a Chevrolet Silverado was robbed of his truck and money at gunpoint during a home invasion. Since the vehicle had an active OnStar subscription, advisors were able to provide authorities with the vehicle location and slow it down when the suspect refused to stop. However, the suspect then refused to surrender, pointing a gun at himself and threatening his own life. Officers called in a negotiating team who used OnStar’s Hands-Free system to talk to the suspect for hours, eventually convincing him to surrender before anyone was hurt.

OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is available on most 2009 model year and newer General Motors’ vehicles in the U.S., Canada, China and Mexico. The service is included in the OnStar subscription that comes standard on new GM vehicles. For more information regarding Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and all of OnStar’s services, please visit http://www.onstar.com.

Copied from GM News.

2014 Buick Enclave Industry Exclusive Center AirBag

Check out this video showcasing the Chevy Traverse’s and Buick Enclave’s industry exclusive center air bag.

The airbag deploys from the side of the driver seat and is designed to reduce the impact of the front two occupants; both from each other as well as if the driver were riding alone.

Just another way with Chevrolet and Buick, we try to keep you safe!