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Old 13 Jun 2008, 04:11 am
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Default 2009 Acura RDX - Safety

TORRANCE, Calif. - Jun 12 —


Acura's mission for the RDX is to provide an extraordinarily high level of safety that meets or exceeds current regulations and standards. The goals embrace a core Acura brand concept called "Safety Through Innovation."

Specific Safety Information:

  • New FMVSS 208 frontal and FMVSS 301 rear collision standards implemented by the federal government for 2008-later model year

  • 5-Star rating in NHTSA* Front and Side NCAP tests

  • GOOD ratings in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) front offset, Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE) and seat/head restraint rear crash tests

  • Advanced control of intrusion into the passenger compartment during a side collision with an SUV in SICE tests


  • Improved protection in the event of frontal collisions with larger vehicles

  • Enhanced crash compatibility with smaller vehicles in a car-to-car collision compared to previous generation vehicles

  • Advanced protection for pedestrians in event of a collision

*Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) New Car Assessment Program ( Model tested with standard side-impact air bags (SABs).


All 2009 model year vehicles are required to meet the latest federal crash-performance regulations known as FMVSS 208 (frontal) and FMVSS 301 (rear).

Above and beyond these are key safety evaluation tests from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which are often referenced by customers but not required by law. For the RDX, the engineering target was 5 Stars for the NHTSA tests and Good ratings for all IIHS tests - the best results possible.

This includes the IIHS ratings test called Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE), which limits the intrusiveness if hit by an SUV in a side collision. Finally, the RDX adopts pedestrian head protection measures that are above and beyond NHTSA standards.


Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) is the cornerstone engineering feature that defines much of the RDX structure. ACE™ helps maintain the structural integrity of the passenger cabin in a frontal crash. It does so by markedly improving energy distribution away from the cabin during the crash, and allowing a more uniform absorption of energy. This helps reduce the chance of intrusion into the passenger cabin.

In addition, ACE™ also provides benefits in vehicle compatibility in frontal crashes, which can improve passenger safety when vehicles of dissimilar size and height collide.


The new requirements for NHTSA's FMVSS 301 include a more severe rear crash test. In the current test, a 1,367 kg (3,015 lb.) deformable barrier sled strikes 70-percent of the vehicle's width at 50 mph. In contrast, the previous FMVSS 301 used a 1,814 (4,000 lb.) flat rigid moving barrier that struck the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. The new test requires that the vehicle absorb more crash energy than before--and the 2009 Acura RDX does.


As popular full-size pickups and SUVs have become larger and taller, so has the dilemma presented when such vehicles collide head-on with smaller vehicles. For the Acura RDX, engineers voluntarily adopted a vehicle-to-vehicle collision philosophy above and beyond what is required by the government.

ACE™ helps distribute the forces of a larger and heavier vehicle across the front structure of the RDX. This helps to reduce the risk of intrusion and at the same time, helps disperse the crash energy across a wider area of the front of the vehicle to help reduce the risk of occupant injury.

Acura RDX also has a front member that extends below the front bumper beam. This lower member helps ensure that if the RDX collides with a smaller vehicle, the lower front member will engage the other vehicle's bumper system. Also, the upper portions of the ACE™ front structure improve cabin protection if the RDX sustains a frontal crash with a larger vehicle.


The RDX takes the well being of pedestrians into account in its safety engineering. Accordingly, engineers optimized certain structures in the front end of the vehicle to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research shows that these features can dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.

Key Pedestrian Safety Features include:

  • Hood designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian

  • Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports located under the hood

  • Greater clearance between hood and hard engine parts

  • Deformable windshield wiper pivots

  • Crushable hood hinge


Dual-stage airbags are provided for the driver and front passenger. These airbags are designed to maximize protection for the head and chest during a moderate to severe front collision. In dual-stage technology, each airbag inflator has two stages instead of a traditional single inflation stage. Dual-threshold technology allows for these two stages of inflation to be ignited at different times. Combining dual-stage and dual-threshold technology with technology that detects if the occupants are belted or unbelted, the airbags are deployed in a sequence based on crash severity. To reduce the potential for airbag injuries during a moderate collision, the airbags are deployed in a delayed mode to slow the rate of inflation. In the event of a severe crash, both stages are deployed at the same time to provide immediate occupant protection.

Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Airbag parameters:

  • Airbag deployment characteristics are finely controlled depending on the severity of a collision

  • The dual stage, dual-threshold strategy applies to front airbags only and does not affect operation of side airbags or side curtain airbags

In addition, the airbag system also uses a seat weight sensor to assess the weight of the front passenger. The front passenger airbag is shut off if the weight sensor indicates that a small child or a baby carrier is occupying the front seat. Finally, a seamless instrument panel cover fully conceals the passenger airbag. The driver's airbag is located in a small steering-wheel mounted housing.


Side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to provide upper torso protection in the event of a sufficient side impact. In addition, the front passenger's seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a small child (or small stature adult) is occupying the front seat and the passenger leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy and help protect the occupant in a side impact. The system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag.


In a sufficient side impact or rollover, the RDX's side curtain airbags deploy from roof-mounted modules, providing head protection for both rows of seating. Side curtain airbags effectively cover the window area from the A-pillar back to the C-pillar. Tests show that the g-forces acting upon an occupant's head are far lower with side curtain airbags.


The RDX includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for all rear seat positions. LATCH features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system. Additionally, the LATCH system simplifies child seat installation when an owner installs a LATCH-compatible child seat. Up to two LATCH child seats can be installed simultaneously.


Both front seat belts have load limiters with an automatic tensioning system that work together to help protect the driver and front passenger in a collision. The components work automatically in a 1-2 sequence. In the first few milliseconds of a collision, the tensioning system automatically tightens the front seat belts. Research has shown that seat belts that are snugly secured around the occupants provide better protection. If the deceleration forces rise above a predetermined threshold, the load limiter releases a small length of seatbelt webbing to reduce the pressure on the occupant in a controlled manner. This helps reduce the injuries that seatbelts can cause in a severe high-speed collision.


The RDX front seats incorporate innovative Active Head Restraint System that help minimize the potential for neck injury from rear-end collisions. In the event of such a collision, the occupant's body is pushed against the seatback. The pressure to the seatback is then transmitted mechanically from the lumbar plate via links that push the head restraint upward and forward to reduce the gap between the occupant's head and seat head restraint, comparatively reducing the forces acting on the head, neck and spine at the time of the collision. This ability to help manage rear collision forces is a key component to reducing whiplash injuries. Active head restraints are standard on the Acura RDX but are unavailable on the BMW X3.


An 18-gallon fuel tank is located in a protected area in front of the rear body-deformation zone, to minimize its risk of damage in a collision.

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