Government Releases Passenger Car Crash Test Ratings

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with its latest crash test ratings -- this time for how large family cars handle side-impact crashes.

The institute puts the redesigned Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon at the top of the eight cars tested. Both models come standard with side airbags.

The Buick Lucerne and Hyundai Azera, also equipped with standard side airbags, earned the second-highest rating of acceptable.

The institute rated the Buick LaCrosse with standard air bags as marginal, along with the Chrysler 300 equipped with optional side airbags.

The Chrysler 300, the Ford Five Hundred and Ford Crown Victoria, all tested without optional side airbags, were rated poor for side-impact protection.

The tests simulated the impact from an S-U-V or pickup truck by
having a barrier moving at 31 miles-an-hour strike the vehicles.