Airbags And SUVs

2013-02-20T00:00:00Z Airbags And SUVsSteering you right With Sharon Peters
February 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 


We’ve been looking at the GMC Acadia, which has a center airbag between the two front seats. No one’s sitting there, so this strikes me as an over-the-top gimmick that salespeople use to impress people, and one that probably isn’t of value. What do you think?


I think there are, as you suggest, many things carmakers do to distinguish themselves from competitors that aren’t of significant importance to the car buyer. I don’t, however, put this into that category.

That airbag deploys from the right of the driver’s seat so that the driver and the occupant do not collide with each other or knock heads during a side-impact crash, according to the company. In such a crash, the side airbags provide one form of protection, but the impact and inflation will force the driver and passenger toward each other and this new airbag (a first for the industry) provides protection.

Also, everything in the back seat and cargo area – luggage, skis, purses and untethered pets – flies around during a wreck. Much of what comes forward will do so through the space between the two front seats. An airbag that essentially blocks that space could be useful to minimize some injuries.


We’ve had a Toyota RAV4 for five years and want to trade it for another. Photos of the next generation RAV show a sloping design that looks like every other SUV on the market. Why would they take the distinctive look away? We loved it.


The RAV4, when it debuted nearly 20 years ago, sparked the trend toward smaller, sportier SUVs. In recent years, it has become far less popular than some of the models that followed in its path.

At the end of 2012, Toyota unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show a redesigned version that looks very much like every other crossover or small SUV sporting the sleek, station-wagon style in vogue these days. Toyota also ditched the side-hinged tailgate and the spare tire mounted on the outside.

Toyota hopes that the new styling, extra space and better fuel efficiency will pull consumers back.

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