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2015 VW Jetta earns IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award

The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest award, Top Safety Pick+, after a structural upgrade to improve small overlap protection and the addition of an optional front crash prevention system.

Although the car didn’t get a full redesign, the A-pillars and door sills were strengthened for the 2015 model year. As a result, the Jetta’s small overlap rating improved to good, compared with the marginal rating of earlier models.

In the test, the driver’s space was maintained well, and measures taken from the dummy in the driver seat indicated a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of the same severity. The side airbag deployed and had sufficient forward coverage to protect the head from striking side structure and outside objects. However, the dummy’s head slid off the frontal airbag after hitting it, and the safety belt allowed the dummy’s head and torso to move too far forward.

In addition to the good small overlap rating, the Jetta earns good ratings in the Institute’s four other crashworthiness evaluations. An optional forward collision warning system earns the car a basic rating for front crash prevention. When equipped with the system, the Jetta qualifies for the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.

The 2015 Jetta offers a combination of both passive and active systems and has been engineered to meet or exceed current crash regulations. The Jetta features a number of available driver assistance systems, including Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Forward Collision Warning.

  • Blind Spot Monitor. This system utilizes a flashing symbol in the outer area of the side mirrors to help alert the driver to vehicles that are in the vehicle’s blind spot or approaching from the rear. This is intended to help improve driver awareness when changing lanes. The system uses radar sensors to “monitor” a space around the vehicle with a range of approximately 65 feet. Customers who choose the Blind Spot Monitor option automatically get the Rear Traffic Alert assistance system as well.
  • Rear Traffic Alert. The new driver assistance system is offered in tandem with Blind Spot Monitor. The system not only helps alert the driver to stationary and moving vehicles directly behind the vehicle; it also detects vehicles approaching from the side which may be difficult for the driver to see. The radar-based sensor module can even detect objects up to 65 feet (20 meters) away. In case of an impending collision, the system gives an acoustic warning.
  • Forward Collision Warning. This system uses radar sensors to monitor the distance from traffic ahead of the vehicle. The Forward Collision Warning system helps alert the driver of critical front-end collision situations, both acoustically and visually by a clear warning symbol in the instrument cluster. The radar sensor acquires both the position of stationary cars and motorcycles and those moving in the same direction as the vehicle. The sensor is hidden behind the VW logo on the radiator grille.

All Jetta models are equipped with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), six airbags, Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA).

IIHS introduced the small overlap evaluation in 2012. In the test, which is more challenging than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the Institute’s moderate overlap test, 25% of a vehicle’s front end on the driver side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph (64 km/h). The crash replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole.

To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection and good ratings in the Institute’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners must meet those same criteria and also earn a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.