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Forester tops safety study

June 27, 2006

Forester tops safety study

Subaru's All-Wheel Drive Forester has ranked highest in independent Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) announced in Australia.

The 2006 UCSR studied more than 1.7 million crashes of 305 different vehicle models over a 17-year period.

For the first time in the study’s history, a ‘standout’ car was identified, with Subaru’s Forester (1997-2002) rating as top performer.

The UCSR is the world’s largest study of vehicle crashes and is conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre and supported by the RACV, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), and VicRoads, as well as other state and federal road authorities and motoring clubs from Australia and New Zealand.
Project Leader, Dr Stuart Newstead, of Monash University, said: “This car is a standout performer – it shows you can have off-road capability with excellent occupant protection and low aggressivity.”

Chris Rickards, the General Manager of Subaru of New Zealand, said: “This news is all the more heartening as it covers older Foresters that pre-date the five-star crashworthiness rating for occupant safety of the current car, awarded by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP)."

“Forester has class-leading safety both in current and previous generations. With symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and an incredibly strong cabin, it offers outstanding active and passive safety.”

Subaru Legacy and Outback from 1999-2003 were also named as vehicles offering well above average protection to their drivers in a crash by the study.
Like Forester, current generation Legacy and Outback also have five-star ANCAP crashworthiness ratings for occupant safety.

Forester enjoys superb retained value, according to independent industry ratings.

2006 used car safety ratings overall ‘best picks’

- Subaru Forester 1997-02
- Holden Astra TS 1998-04
- Toyota Corolla 1998-01
- Ford Telstar/Mazda 626 1992-97
- Nissan Bluebird 1993-97
- Mercedes C Class 1995-00
- Honda Accord 1991-93

The informative UCSR guide contains easily understood information on safety.
It enables motorists to check the ratings of scores of vehicles.
The 2006 results assessed the performance of 305 vehicle models in more than 1.7 million crashes in Australia and New Zealand from 1987 to 2004.

The two criteria used to rate vehicle models were crashworthiness (how much protection the vehicle provides the driver in a crash) and aggressivity (how badly the vehicle is likely to harm other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, in a crash).

The study showed significant differences in crash performance between vehicles within the same class.
The technical report can be viewed at

Forester safety – background
In line with the entire Subaru range, current generation Forester’s safety cell includes ring-shaped reinforcement frames, producing greater body rigidity, minimum collision distortion, and energy dispersal, regardless of direction.
The ring-shaped reinforcements greatly improve safety in side, offset and head-on collisions.
A lap pretensioner on the driver’s seatbelt combines with a variable load limiter to improve protection in the event of an offset crash.
This works by simultaneously tightening both the lap and sash of the belt when the front airbags deploy, reducing the “submarining” effect of the occupant in a collision.
The front passenger seatbelt also includes a conventional pretensioner for added protection.
Front and rear seatbelts (other than the centre rear lap/sash) have height adjustable anchor points and all three-rear seatbelts have Automatic Emergency Locking Retractors.
Subaru’s triple A-safety pack includes symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, ABS anti-lock brakes and dual front airbags.

All new generations Foresters feature anti-lock ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). This improves rear wheel braking capacity in response to load shifting caused by deceleration.

The front passenger side airbag has a two-stage inflator, meaning that in a crash at low-to-medium speeds it will open in two stages, reducing the risk of injury.

In high-speed collisions, both inflators activate simultaneously, maximising protection.

The larger side airbags are built into the front seats, providing protection to head and shoulder areas regardless of front seating position.

Active front seat headrests on all Foresters reduce whiplash and the severity of neck injury in rear end collisions.

Pillar trims are filled with impact absorbing material to reduce injury in the event of contact in an accident.

To reduce lower leg injury in a heavy frontal collision, the brake pedal bracket absorbs impact.

Visibility is assisted by the spare wheel being located under the cargo area floor, instead of mounted on the rear door.
Active safety

Active safety systems shared by all Subarus include symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, to aid balance and control, and ABS anti-lock brakes.

Passive safety

Passive safety features on the entire Subaru range include ring-shaped reinforcements and dual front and side SRS airbags.

Front seatbelt pretensioners are used to quickly tighten the belt on impact and remove any slack between the belt and body.

All rear seatbelts feature Automatic Emergency Locking Retractors (A/ELR). When fully extended, the belts ratchet back into position for more positive securing of child safety seats. The ratchet is cancelled when the seatbelt is fully retracted.

Centre rear seatbelts are all lap/sash, for added back seat safety.


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