The new honor recognizes even higher levels of occupant protection than under the Institute’s previous testing methodology, which evaluated vehicle safety performance in side-, front- and rear-impact scenarios, as well as in rollover situations. The Altima, in winning a spot on the Top Safety Pick+ roster, not only achieved high marks in those areas, but also in the new small-overlap test designed to measure occupant protection when a vehicle hits a narrow obstacle like a tree. (The original front-impact test is geared for moderate-overlap incidents, where crash forces are spread out across more of the frontal area of the vehicle.)
And remember, the all-new Altima also was awarded a five-star overall safety score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its performance in the government’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
“Driver and passenger safety are top priorities for Nissan, which is why we make features like Safety Shield technologies available,” said Bob Yakushi, Nissan’s director of product safety. “The 2013 Altima is truly Nissan’s most innovative Altima ever, and the ‘Top Safety Pick+’ designation by IIHS reflects the engineering and design that have gone into this car to make it stand out in the class.”
Note: At this stage, the IIHS only has tested a batch of midsize cars using the new protocol, and also continues to evaluate vehicles for its traditional Top Safety Pick honors—which, so far this year, have been earned by the Nissan Cube, Nissan Juke and Nissan Versa Sedan.