Crash Test Between US and Mexican Market Hyundais Shows How Much Safer Our Cars Are

A crash test with two Hyundai sedans from each side of the border shows just how different standards are around the world.
YouTube/Global NCAP

A new video released by Global NCAP shows a crash test between two Hyundai cars sold in the US and Mexico respectively. It demonstrates the stark contrasts in vehicle safety standards around the world, as spotlighted by Motor1.

Representing the US market is a Hyundai Accent, while the Mexican market car is a Hyundai Grand i10. The two vehicles are the cheapest sedans sold by Hyundai in their respective countries. The US market car features 6 airbags and electronic stability control, a stark contrast to the Mexican market car which only features two frontal airbags.

The two vehicles were accelerated towards each other in a head-on crash test, with the cars colliding with a small overlap on the driver’s side. The aftermath of the crash shows a major difference in how well the passengers in each car are protected.

The Mexican market Hyundai Grand i10 shows serious damage after the crash, demonstrating significant risk of injury to the passengers.

In the Mexican market Grand i10, the body shell shows significant deformation after the impact. The A-pillar is badly bent and the driver’s door is crumpled, while the steering wheel has also been pushed back towards the driver. There’s also little protection from the sides as only frontal airbags are fitted. “The level of protection in the occupant zone is really rather poor, with a high risk of fatal or serious injury,” said David Ward, Executive President of Global NCAP.

In contrast, the American market Accent sedan performed much better. While the front end has still taken serious damage, the occupant cell itself is far more intact. The door appears almost unblemished and would open a lot more easily than its Mexican counterpart. The A-pillar looks untouched, and even the windscreen survived without major damage. “The body shell has really performed well,” notes Ward.

While the US market Hyundai Accent also shows heavy front-end damage, the occupant area is more intact, with the passengers inside much less likely to be seriously harmed.

The difference between the two is stark and comes down to the different vehicle safety regulations in each country. Alejandro Furas, Secretary General for Global NCAP, believes that educating consumers about vehicle safety is key, such as publicizing star ratings for crash safety. “We believe that if in Mexico, we have much more powerful and much broader consumer information… the gap will be much smaller,” says Furas.

It’s a test that reveals just how far automotive safety has come for markets with the most stringent regulations, like the US and EU. It’s something to think about if you’re riding in car in places that don’t subscribe to rigorous safety standards. Fundamentally, it shows that market forces and government regulations are key to pushing automakers to improve safety. The technology exists; all that’s needed is the will to implement it on a global scale.

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