Coming off the 2013 and 2014 model year with a poor rating for its small-front overlap crash test, the 2015 Buick Encore did a complete turn-around. Now, the Encore (and its new sibling, the 2015 Chevroet Trax) are rated “Good” in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small-overlap front crash test, meaning both models receive the group’s Top Safety Pick rating.
Previously, the 2013-2014 Buick Encore’s small-overlap crash test revealed fundamental safety faults for the crossover. In the impact, the IIHS said the driver’s survival space “wasn’t maintained well,” and that the frontal airbag was not as effective as it should be at bracing the driver from the impact, because the steering column shifted during this specific test. Instrument panel and dash components also shifted towards the driver in the small-overlap, resulting in potential injuries to the knee and thigh areas.
For the 2015 model year, General Motors returned to the drawing board and developed heavy revisions for the 2015 Buick Encore and 2015 Chevrolet Trax. Significant revisions to the airbags, dash structure, and frontal reinforcements helped make the models stronger, resulting in the compact crossovers receiving a Top Safety Pick rating.
Compact crossovers are set to become even more popular, with offerings emerging from many different manufacturers. Honda’s new HR-V, the Mazda CX-3, the Fiat 500X, and the Jeep Renegade all enter the compact crossover ring, and we will have to see how the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore hold up to the competition in terms of both safety and consumer appeal.