2005 Outback stopping distance and side impact crash test results

Discussion in 'Subaru Outback' started by Scott Marcy, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Scott Marcy

    Scott Marcy Guest

    I haven't seen these two issues discussed here before, so I'd like to
    see if anybody else has any thoughts on these.

    1) IIHS side impact crash test results for the 2005 Legacy were rather
    disappointing:

    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0411.htm

    especially when compared to the Forester:

    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0312.htm

    To me, this is extremely disappointing, considering the 2005 is a new
    chassis design. (At least the head impact values are "good", so you're
    less likely to have serious head injuries, but you may never walk
    again.)

    2) Both MotorWeek and Car & Driver show TERRIBLE stopping distances for
    the new Outbacks:

    http://www.mpt.org/motorweek/reviews/rt2343a.shtml
    http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=31&article_id=8204

    MotorWeek found 60-0 to take an average of 155 feet, while C&D found
    70-0 to take 204 feet. MotorWeek just tested the ultra-lame H2 SUT and
    it stopped from 60 in an average of 140 feet. What's up with that?!?!
    Almost a full car length further than an H2 is really, *REALLY*
    pathetic.

    I have a 2000 Outback and we've been pretty happy with it, and I
    *really* want to move up to one of the 2005 XT models, but when Audi's
    allroad can stop nearly *35* feet (2 car lengths) shorter from 60, I
    have to really wonder about how safe these new Subarus are overall.

    I don't know the stopping distance of our 2000 Outback--it's probably
    not any better. And I'm sure if the 2000 OB were submitted to IIHS'
    side-impact tests it would fare far worse than the new OB. But that's
    really irrelevant--I'm looking for a *new* car so I want all the
    new-car safety features. The very long stopping distance of the new OB
    has me seriously concern. What better way to survive an accident, after
    all, than to avoid it all together?

    (Yes, I know, there's more than just stopping distance to consider in
    avoiding an accident, and by every review I've read/seen the new
    Subarus handle much better than the old ones.)

    Is this extreme stopping distance simply a matter of crappy stock
    tires? I certainly can believe that's part of it, but I find it hard to
    believe that's all of it. I sure hope Subaru addresses this soon.

    -Scott
     
    Scott Marcy, Nov 1, 2004
    #1
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  2. Scott Marcy

    Jim Stewart Guest

    I think it doesn't matter that much. I've driven about 600k miles
    in my 35 years of driving experience. In all that time, I've never
    had an incident where 1 car length of stopping distance would have
    made any difference in any situation. Now I freely admit to *not*
    tailgating and trying to maintain a good situational awareness to
    keep me out of trouble. My freeway Vne (speed never to exceed in
    any circumstances in airplane talk) is 80 mph.

    After all, you're not taking the car to the track. If you want to
    avoid an accident, drive at conservative speeds, don't tailgate,
    and keep your eyes open. Do that and the brakes on any car built
    in the last 20 years should be sufficient.
     
    Jim Stewart, Nov 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. So Scott, what are you really trying to say here?
     
    Rockin Ronnie, Nov 1, 2004
    #3
  4. Scott Marcy

    CJC Guest

    I curious what others think. I'm a big fan of Subaru (I owned a '98
    Outback and sold it only to get the 2000 OB, and I've been drooling
    over the new '05s.). But as a car company which is promoting safety,
    I'm a bit taken aback by these two issues. I just wondering if anybody
    has any interesting thoughts on these things.

    (The side impact issue is a big deal for me. I live in a suburban area
    that is overrun with the big, stupid SUVs and more and more they're
    being driven by teenagers and not soccer moms. One of those hitting
    your side would really ruin your day. Short of joining the mindless
    masses and buying a big, stupid SUV myself (not *ever* an option in my
    mind ;-), I'd like to find a car that does very well in the side-impact
    tests, as well as frontal impacts. The Forester is too small for us.
    The OB is just about perfectly sized.)

    Finally, I'm looking for hope that the stopping distance thing might be
    "fixable." I'd really love to know how much the tires affect this--I
    really don't have a clue.

    -Scott
     
    CJC, Nov 2, 2004
    #4
  5. Scott Marcy

    CJC Guest

    While you make a perfectly valid point, there are still times when all
    that won't help you (like some idiot cutting you off, or a deer jumping
    out in front of you). True, better handling and good reflexes will
    probably be of more use in such situations, but I guess I still want to
    know what gives here?

    Maybe I'm just too picky. There's lots to love about the new
    Legacy/Outback, but rather than talk about the sweet stuff, I wanted to
    see what others think about these "weak spots."

    -Scott
     
    CJC, Nov 2, 2004
    #5
  6. Scott Marcy

    hippo Guest

    <<MotorWeek found 60-0 to take an average of 155 feet, while C&D found 70-0
    to take 204 feet. MotorWeek just tested the ultra-lame H2 SUT and it
    stopped from 60 in an average of 140 feet. What's up with that?!?! Almost
    a full car length further than an H2 is really, *REALLY* pathetic.

    I have a 2000 Outback and we've been pretty happy with it, and I *really*
    want to move up to one of the 2005 XT models, but when Audi's allroad can
    stop nearly *35* feet (2 car lengths) shorter from 60, I have to really
    wonder about how safe these new Subarus are overall.

    I don't know the stopping distance of our 2000 Outback--it's probably not
    any better. And I'm sure if the 2000 OB were submitted to IIHS'
    side-impact tests it would fare far worse than the new OB. But that's
    really irrelevant--I'm looking for a *new* car so I want all the new-car
    safety features. The very long stopping distance of the new OB has me
    seriously concern. What better way to survive an accident, after all, than
    to avoid it all together?

    (Yes, I know, there's more than just stopping distance to consider in
    avoiding an accident, and by every review I've read/seen the new Subarus
    handle much better than the old ones.)

    Is this extreme stopping distance simply a matter of crappy stock tires? I
    certainly can believe that's part of it, but I find it hard to believe
    that's all of it. I sure hope Subaru addresses this soon.>>

    Despite not having read all tests of all cars mentioned, some important
    questions still come to mind.
    Were all cars tested on the same road(s), on the same day. at the same
    time of day, with the same temp and rh and with prevailing wind speed &
    direction identical?
    Were all cars fitted with OE tyres and wheels running manufacturers'
    recommended cold pressures?
    Did all cars have ABS?

    If not, the comparison is potentially misleading.

    The other thing is (which you probably already know as you have the same
    car as me!) is that ABS equipped cars allow you to steer while applying
    FULL braking pressure, thus increasing your chances of avoiding an
    accident. Unless you have absolutely nowhere else to put the car than into
    the obstacle/other vehicle/scenery, straight line braking distances per se
    are not the whole story.

    Many people have straight line accidents in cars with ABS simply because
    they have absolutely no idea what it does or how to best use it. Mind you,
    you've got to play with it somewhere safe before you can override existing
    instincts in an emergency situation!

    Haven't driven the '05 in Aus yet, but the OE tyres look like a quantum
    improvement on the old Geolanders. Cheers
     
    hippo, Nov 2, 2004
    #6
  7. You must be a beter driver than me. I've been within a car length of
    wacking someone in the rear more than a couple times. :)
     
    Michael Janke, Nov 3, 2004
    #7
  8. I drove an 05 OB base model and Legacy LTD (not GT) back to back & was
    very dissapointed with the OB brakes compared to the Legacy LTD. From
    what I can tell the Legacy LTD has 1" larger brakes that the OB or the
    base Legacy. The inch seems to have made a big difference.
     
    Michael Janke, Nov 3, 2004
    #8
  9. Scott Marcy

    hippo Guest

    <<You must be a beter driver than me. I've been within a car length of
    wacking someone in the rear more than a couple times. :)>>

    Happens - but try to *always* keep a minimum 3 second gap between you and
    the car in front regardless of speed - easier than estimating varying
    distances.
    Double it to 6 seconds in rain or poor visibility.
    Nothing's foolproof but it hasn't let me down yet! Cheers
     
    hippo, Nov 3, 2004
    #9
  10. Scott,
    I too was disappointed in the IIHS results, especially since we bought
    an 05 OBW Ltd in July. However, it is worth noting that they tested
    the sedan which had a recall on the side curtain airbags not properly
    deploying; SOA told me that they weren't folded right at the source,
    and it has been corrected. Take a look at the NHTSA results for the OB
    Wagon at this link
    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/testing/ncap/Index2.cfm
    It pretty much equates to Australia's rating which was available
    before the cars were for sale in the USA. In fact Australia tested the
    Liberty wagon(their Legacy, I believe), and found it to be 5 star on
    the side impact with or without the side airbags! I believe, This
    testifies to the car's structural integrity, ie, ring reinforced
    construction. I have no complaint about our OBW's stopping ability,
    and I hope it never becomes an issue with our family.

    Gregg
     
    G.R. Aydelotte, Nov 3, 2004
    #10
  11. Scott Marcy

    JAS_IL Guest

    1) IIHS side impact crash test results for the 2005 Legacy were rather
    I also was disappointed with the IIHS results, and have read a lot of
    discussion about it, as well as looked carefully at the data.

    A couple of thoughts:

    The IIHS side impact test was raised to a height closer to SUV height,
    and IIHS uses a 5th %tile female for their dummy. So it is a pretty
    tough test which was changed within the past few years. The NHTSB test
    is quite a bit less stringent (easier to get 5 stars).

    If you look at the IIHS data, the Legacy had I believe the least
    intrusion into the passenger compartment, meaning that the chassis was
    the stiffest of the cars tested. The stiffer chassis may mean that the
    accelerations on the dummy were actually larger than a softer chassis
    might have been.

    It seems possible that the seat airbag did not do a great job in this
    particular test for cushioning the torso / pelvis from the impact. The
    seat airbag is quite small, and a mismatch between dummy size and
    impact height / location could probably quickly increase the
    accelerations.

    The wagon and outback have not been tested by IIHS. The raised height
    of the outback might make it perform significantly better in this
    particular test. A number of people also feel that the the wagon is
    likely to do better than the sedan.
    I don't know about the outback tires, but a lot of people are
    convinced that on the legacy gt, the brakes are fine and the stock
    tires are poor. Lots of people are replacing the stock tires and
    reporting better performance.

    A good additional source for discussion is the forums at legacygt.com
     
    JAS_IL, Nov 4, 2004
    #11
  12. Scott Marcy

    Scott Marcy Guest

    Honestly, I find the government crash tests to be much less useful. The
    mere fact that they rate the car as 5-stars w/ or w/o side airbags only
    goes to show that they're 5-star rating is too easily given. (Although
    since the OB in the US comes with the side air bags standard, I'm
    guessing that this it's the AUS ratings that are particularly
    questionable here.)

    In general, I find the IIHS ratings to be more instructive, simply
    because they're a more difficult test and fewer cars get top marks.
    What the govt's tests show is that most cars today are significantly
    safer than they were 20 years ago. What the IIHS tests show (in my
    mind) are which of today's cars are *safer* than the average car. The
    NHTSA tests are useful up to a point, but a 5-star side impact rating
    doesn't mean as much to me as "Good" rating from IIHS.

    Maybe I'm just too picky, but the Outback and Legacy has always gotten
    top marks from the IIHS until the new side impact tests. That's a
    bummer.

    -Scott
     
    Scott Marcy, Nov 4, 2004
    #12
  13. Scott Marcy

    Scott Marcy Guest

    That's good to know. I'll have to make sure to test drive the Legacy as
    well. In a way, I'd rather have a Legacy GT anyway, except my wife
    likes the looks of the OB a lot better (and I do tend to agree).

    -Scott
     
    Scott Marcy, Nov 4, 2004
    #13
  14. Scott Marcy

    Scott Marcy Guest

    I agree. The NHTSA tests really aren't as informative as IIHS's tests.
    Interesting. I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense. Maybe a
    plus for the OB.
    The Legacy GT has larger brakes, right? I wonder if it's possible to
    put the GT's brakes on the OB XT. Probably an expensive thing to do
    (and probably would void the warranty).
    Thanks, I'll check it out.

    -Scott
     
    Scott Marcy, Nov 4, 2004
    #14
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