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Chevy Cruze Debuts a Safer Air Bag

Sections: Car Safety

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The Chevy Cruze's Flexible Air Bag Venting System is illustrated.

This illustration explains how the vented air bag system works in the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze. GM says the system is safer for a wider range of drivers and is less likely to cause inflation-related injuries during a crash. (Image courtesy General Motors.)

General Motors said its Chevrolet Cruze introduces a new air bag technology for the 2013 model year that promises to make the car safer while reducing the chance of air bag-related injuries.

Most air bags use a two-stage inflation system, according to the GM press release. One stage is used for low-speed crashes, and the other is used for high-speed crashes. The Cruze’s new air bag uses a single-stage inflator with a flexible vent that better allows the driver’s forward momentum to push the air out of the way, effectively reducing the chances of inflation-related injury, the release said.

GM General Director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness Gay Kent said, “This new air bag technology is a smart way to manage crash forces, and is an integral part of Cruze’s continued success in safety testing. The latest safety rating reflects the confidence we have in its new and carry-over safety technologies and overall crashworthiness.”

The Cruze was tested by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials recently and earned the best possible score of five stars for its all-around crash performance. While that’s admirable, it’s worth noting that the 2011 and 2012 Cruzes tested by NHTSA previously achieved the same score with a traditional two-stage airbag installed. The new air bag also didn’t stop Cruze from maintaining its top rating of “Good” in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front, rear, side, and rollover crash protection testing, according to GM. The model was an IIHS “Top Safety Pick” for 2011 and 2012.

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