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Volvo S60 is the safest sport sedan in the premium segment

Several 2012 upscale vehicles that meet all existing safety regulations have been dinged in a new crash safety test that mimics small overlap head-on collisions.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 11 mid-sized luxury and near-luxury cars, but only two of the vehicles -- the Acura TL and Volvo S60 -- achieved "good" ratings on the institute's small frontal overlap test. The Infiniti G earned an "acceptable" rating.

In contrast, "poor" ratings were bestowed on the Mercedes-Benz C class, Audi A4, Lexus ES 350 and Lexus IS 250/350.

The Acura TSX sedan/sport wagon, BMW 3 series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC earned "marginal" ratings to land in the middle of the pack.

The institute says its new test examined how well the 2012 models handled 40-mph frontal collisions in which there was 25 percent overlap with a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier, which is a modification of its moderate 40 percent overlap test.

Side curtain and torso airbags deployed in the Volvo S60. One or both of the curtain and torso airbags didn't deploy in seven of the cars evaluated. Of the six curtains that deployed, four didn't provide sufficient forward coverage. The Institute lowered restraint and kinematics scores if side airbags didn't deploy or coverage was lacking.

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