Significant improvements in protection for people in rear crashes highlight the latest changes incorporated in the new model. The seats and head restraints in the previous car were rated poor for occupant protection in rear crashes. In response, engineers redesigned the seats in the 2009 RL to earn a better rating, and when the Institute tested the new seat, it earned the highest rating of good.
Some of the RL’s standard safety features, which also contributed to the top score, include several crash avoidance features such as a forward collision warning, emergency brake assist, and adaptive headlights.
The Institute’s frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each vehicle’s overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a dummy in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.
Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Rear crash protection, meanwhile, is rated using a test that simulates a collision in which a vehicle is struck in the rear at 20 mph.