2013 Nissan Leaf Nabs IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick’

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has added the Nissan Leaf to the list of cars with its prized “Top Safety Pick” designation for 2013.

Nissan’s all-electric car aced the independent organization’s tests with its highest rating of “Good” in front, side, rollover and rear crash tests.

“The IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick’ recognition speaks to the ‘zone body construction’ design from Nissan’s Safety Shield Concept to help protect occupants in a wide variety of crash scenarios,” said Robert Yakushi, Nissan director of product safety.

For anyone who may wonder about safety of production electric cars, assuming their engineering is otherwise sound, their extra heft often lets them excel in such tests compared to similarly sized vehicles.

Adding its name to Nissan Altima and Infiniti M37/M56 on the 2013 list, Nissan reiterated its commitment to the Leaf.

“Driver and passenger safety are top priorities for Nissan and the ‘Top Safety Pick’ designation by IIHS reflects the design and innovation that have gone into this car to make it a practical, no-compromise electric vehicle,” said Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing. “The new, U.S.-assembled 2013 Nissan LEAF provides customers with a remarkable level of value, comfort and security at prices competitive with gas-powered cars in a fun-to-drive package.”

Specifically, standard 2013 LEAF safety systems include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.

Added to this long-winded sentence, the Leaf also employs standard 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver’s seat ELR only) with pretensioners and load limiters, child seat upper tether anchor, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system and child safety rear door locks. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

Nissan has been in process of shifting its marketing to the cost-benefit value equation of its electric car, having slashed prices for this, the third model year.

The safety recognition will add to its fact-based selling points as the company works to spread the word, extending beyond the early adopters to new consumers.