WASHINGTON -- The Chrysler 300, Buick LaCrosse and Kia Amanti were among five large "family" cars that earned top ratings in frontal crash tests, an industry safety group said on Sunday.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the results marked the first time every model in a group of large family vehicles recorded top scores in the 40-mph frontal crash tests.
The other vehicles that were tested and received top scores were the 2005 Ford Five Hundred and 2005 Toyota Avalon.
The sedans, among the heaviest passenger cars made, were rammed into a deformable barrier and safety was gauged by measuring impact forces on a test dummy placed in the driver's seat. A good rating means a belted driver would sustain only minor injuries in a real-world crash.
"Large cars are a good choice for consumers looking for a safe family vehicle but some of them haven't always performed well in the institute's frontal crash test," said Adrian Lund, the group's chief operating officer.
The class did not score as well in more limited tests measuring rear crash protection.
Russ Rader, a spokesman for the institute, said the disparity in front and rear ratings was not a pressing safety concern in this case because rear crash tests are performed at 20 mph and only measure whiplash forces.
"More weight is given to the front results because that's the test that can simulate crashes that lead to injury or death," Rader said.
The insurance institute, which is funded by insurance companies and is an influential voice on safety matters, also said it performed frontal crash tests on three large luxury models -- the Acura RL, Cadillac STS and Lexus GS -- and all three recorded top scores.