Buick Joins Subaru as Only Brand-wide Top Safety Pick Winners

IIHS top safety pick awarded to the all-new Buick Verano.

Buick Verano

IIHS testing gives the 2012 Buick Verano top safety marks.

Go shopping for a 2012 Buick model and you’ll see a commonality across this brand’s product line. And that sameness is something besides the distinctive vertical grille with centered Buick trishield badge found on each model. Notably for 2012, Buick joins Subaru as the only full-line brands that have each of its vehicles coming in as Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “top safety picks” this year. The compact Buick Verano was the most recent vehicle tested, joining the Enclave crossover and the LaCrosse and Regal sedans in helping Buick achieve this important accomplishment.

Top Safety Picks

The IIHS, funded by America’s major auto insurers, conducts tests each year to determine a vehicle’s crashworthiness. Specifically, the IIHS determines how well a vehicle protects occupants in the event of a crash, rating each vehicle good, acceptable, marginal or poor. These tests are for front, side and rollover crashes as well as for rear impact accidents. With the last category seats and head restraints are tested to determine how well these perform when cars are rear-ended.

GM’s Buick Brand

  • Incorporated as Buick Motor Company in 1903
  • Helped to launch General Motors in 1908
  • Most popular Buick market is China
  • Sells entry-level luxury and premium models
  • Product line has been completely overhauled
  • All 4 Buick models are IIHS “top safety picks”
  • Buick Verano offers brand-leading 10 airbags
  • Onstar Advanced Crash Response included
  • Next up: small Encore crossover for 2013

Achieving a “good” mark in all four segments is what manufacturers want, making for an important selling point to customers. Good marks can also translate into lower auto insurance premiums compared to models that come in with lower scores. Insurance premiums, however, are set by each insurer. Therefore, customers should compare rates and policies to find the insurance plans right for them.

Roomy Interior

Although quite a few smaller vehicles are IIHS top safety picks, the institute classifies the Buick Verano in the “midsize moderately priced cars” category that includes the Chevrolet Malibu, the Audi A3 and the Subaru Legacy to name a few. That’s because the Verano’s 95 cubic feet of passenger volume places this vehicle in a larger category while still delivering optimum fuel economy.

All Buick models make good use of the latest safety technologies including GM’s Stabilitrak, an electronic stability control system, as well as four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brakes. With the Buick Verano, passengers are protected by 10 airbags including side curtain airbags that are deployed when sensors detect that a rollover accident is imminent. Driver and front passenger knee airbags are also included as are side-mounted rear seat airbags, safety features not found in most cars in its class.

Safety Enhancements

Also enhancing safety in Buick’s 2012 models is the use of high-strength steel in the body, creating an enveloping safety cage that surrounds the passenger compartment. Buick uses more than 60 percent high strength steel in its Verano line. Front seat-belt pretensioners and OnStar’s Advanced Crash Response System are also included, the latter designed to automatically contact first-responders following a crash.

Auto Trends reached out to Buick to get their take on the IIHS’ across-the-board good marks. Said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick marketing, “Just as Buicks today must be quiet, comfortable, and attractive, safety is an integral part of the brand identity. It’s rare to have an entire vehicle lineup recognized as Top Safety Picks, but it would actually be a greater concern to us if we didn’t.”

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Photo courtesy of the General Motors Company.