WASHINGTON (AP) _ The 2002 Kia Sedona performed worse than any minivan ever put through bumper crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the group's testing chief said Wednesday.
The Sedona suffered average damage of $2,437 in four tests conducted at 5 miles per hour, earning a ``poor'' rating.
The worst damage _ $4,305 _ occurred when the minivan was driven into a flat barrier. Both front air bags deployed, cracking the windshield and the top of the instrument panel.
``It was the worst performance of any minivan we've tested,'' said Adrian Lund, the institute's chief operating officer. The institute has been testing bumpers since 1969, but the first minivan test wasn't until 1994.
The low-speed test is designed to imitate the impact that often occurs in commuter traffic and parking lots. The ratings _ good, acceptable, marginal and poor _ are based on how much damage is done to the bumper and other parts of the vehicle.
Automakers complain the tests do not represent what happens in real accidents.
``They are running these cars into a 325,000-pound concrete barrier with about 3 inches of steel on the front of it,'' said Kia spokesman Geno Effler. ``It's not reflective of the real world at all.''
Effler said Kia engineers examined the test results and determined the air bag deployment was an anomaly.
He points out that the Sedona got the government's top five-star rating in its front crash test. In that test, the vehicle is crashed into a barrier at 35 mph and performance is judged by injury measurements on the crash dummies.
The institute also tested three other vehicles: the 2002 models of the Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer and Volvo S40. Each got a marginal rating and suffered an average of $600 to $800 damage in the four tests.