Watch: 1993 Mitsubishi Magna Subjected To Modern Crash Test

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Cars in the '90s offered little to no protection for their passengers.

The Australasian New-Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) uniquely celebrated its 30th anniversary by putting 30-year-old vehicles through modern crash safety tests. The organization tested common vehicles found in Australia in the 1990s, such as the Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon, Volvo 940, Subaru Liberty, and Honda Accord. The ANCAP even invited a group of car owners to the test to gauge their reactions to the crashes.

First on the test list was a 1993 Mitsubishi Magna, one of the first few vehicles the organization tested. It was considered one of the safest in the 1990s despite its lack of airbags and primitive safety features. While the Japanese automaker now mainly produces crossovers like the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, it did have a proper stable of sedans in the '90s.

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The Magna performed as you would expect from a much older vehicle, as it could not protect its occupants from serious injury.

It is important to note that crash testing in the '90s differed significantly from today's standards, as the star rating system only came into effect in 1999. Crash test speeds were much lower than today, and the results were formatted differently. The results were color-coded, with red indicating a severe risk of injury, amber showing a moderate risk, and green signifying a minimal risk.

Back to the Mitsubishi Magna, the ANCAP noted that the data collected from the frontal collisions showed that the dummy would face a high risk of severe or fatal skull fracture along with an increased risk of brain injury. This is because the vehicle had no airbag, resulting in the dummy's head hitting the steering wheel with a force of 107g. That is double the standard forces that new cars today face with a 5-star rating, and there's obviously an airbag between the skull and the steering wheel.

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The data also showed that the driver's upper and lower legs and pelvis were at high risk. However, chest injuries would moderate, according to the results. The rear passenger was also at risk of sustaining severe injuries as the dummy slipped beneath the lap portion of the seatbelt. This is still true today, but for smaller cars.

It shows that modern vehicles are now safer than ever, with test speeds increasing to 40 mph compared to the '90s, which only tested for 35 mph. The tests have also become more comprehensive, covering various scenarios a driver may face in a real-life crash. Even the test dummies have evolved to relay more data and represent all shapes and sizes.

So far, ANCAP has only released the Magna video, but we look forward to seeing how the other '90s cars on the list fared.

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