Is Lancer Evolution safe?

Mitsubishi! > Lancer's Side Crash/Impact Test Results

Cars Tested by NHTSA for front-seat Side Impact/Crash

2004 Lancer Evolution (Evo) 4-Dr
2004 Mitsubishi Lancer 4-Dr
2003 Lancer 4-Dr
2002 Mitsubishi Lancer 4-Dr

Result: Lancer 'Fails' (2 stars out of 5)

According to NHTSA, a vehicle classified as 2 star in this test results in 21-25% chance of serious chest injury that could potentially be life threatening.

More on NHTSA's Side Impact Test

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) has a New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) for safety purpose. It started testing selected vehicles for side impact safety since 1997.

How does NHTSA side-crash test vehicles?

"For testing side impact collisions, crash-test dummies are placed in driver and (driver's side) rear passenger seats, on the side of vehicle struck, and secured with the vehicle's seat belts. This test represents an intersection-type collision with a 3,015 pound barrier moving at 38.5 mph into a standing vehicle. The barrier is covered with material that has "give" to replicate the front of a vehicle."[NHTSA]

Can be ratings be compared across car categories?

"Since all tested vehicles are impacted by the same size barrier, it is possible to compare all vehicles with each other when looking at side crash protection ratings." [NHTSA]

What do the ratings mean?

"Side-collision star ratings indicate the chance of a life threatening chest injury for the driver, front seat passenger, and the rear seat passenger. Head injury is not measured in these tests. As with the front-impact ratings, a serious injury is one requiring immediate hospitalization and may be life threatening." [NHTSA]

The ratings and their meanings are as follows:

5 star = 5% or less chance of serious injury
4 star = 6% to 10% chance of serious injury
3 star = 11% to 20% chance of serious injury
2 star = 21% to 25% chance of serious injury
1 star = 26% or greater chance of serious injury

How serious is side impact issue in real life?

In 1999, about 8000 fatalities happened because of side collisions. In its "2002 Annual Assessment of Motor Vehicle Crashes" report NHTSA asserted that

Two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger car and a LTV (includes pickup truck, SUV and VAN) show that when a car was struck in the side by an LTV, the car occupants were 20.8 times as likely to be fatally injured.

20.8 times as likely to be fatally injured...(in front-collision it is 3.3 times)