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Toyota Camry, RAV4 perform well in crash tests

The 2007 Toyota Camry and 2006 RAV4 small sport utility vehicle earned top marks in front and side crash tests released by the insurance industry on Sunday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The 2007 Toyota Camry and 2006 RAV4 small sport utility vehicle earned top marks in front and side crash tests released by the insurance industry on Sunday.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, reviewing six vehicles, gave the Camry and RAV4 top scores in protecting passengers in a crash. The redesigned Camry has standard curtain-style side air bags to protect passengers' heads and side air bags to protect front seat motorists' midsections.

The 2006 Kia Optima and 2007 Dodge Caliber also earned top scores in frontal tests, but the Caliber had the second-to-lowest score of marginal in side tests. The Optima was not tested on side protection.

The Caliber was an improvement upon its past version, the Dodge Neon sedan, providing protection to the heads of both dummies through side curtain air bags. In past tests, the Neon was rated poor in side-impact tests.

Max Gates, a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler AG, said the automaker will be adding optional side air bags in the Caliber to protect the torso later in the 2007 model year.

Gates said the vehicle has performed well in crash tests and noted that it received the government's highest rating, five stars, for frontal and side impact crash protection.

Among other vehicles tested, the 2006 Lincoln Zephyr and 2005-06 models of the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage received the Institute's second-highest ranking of acceptable in front and side tests.

In the institute's frontal-crash test, vehicles strike a barrier on the driver's side at 40 mph. In the side-impact test, vehicles are struck with a barrier moving at 31 mph to reflect the force of a pickup or sport utility vehicle.