Most midsize cars did not excel in a new side crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
There are four tiers in the rating system: Good, acceptable, marginal and poor.
The Subaru Outback ranked the highest of the seven tested vehicles, receiving a "good" rating. The Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Jetta received "acceptable" ratings.
The Honda Accord earned a "marginal" rating and the Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry earned "poor" ratings.
"With vehicles that sit lower to the ground, the striking barrier hits higher on the door panel,” says IIHS President David Harkey. “That potentially puts sedans and wagons at a disadvantage in this evaluation but reflects what happens in a real-world crash when these vehicles are struck by a higher-riding pickup or SUV.”
The IIHS says its side crash test uses a 4,200-pound barrier traveling 37 miles per hour to simulate the striking vehicle.