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Jaguar X-type fares worst in low-speed crash tests of midsized cars

May 28, 2002 DETROIT AP is reporting that bumpers on five of nine midsize sedans performed poorly, and the Jaguar X-type performed the worst in 5 mph crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the organization said Friday.

In four crash tests the 2002 Jaguar X-type sustained a total of $6,770 in damage earning it a "poor" rating.

Total damage for the best performer, the Lexus ES 300, was $1,833 earning it an "acceptable" rating.

The tests, performed by the Arlington, Va.-based organization, were designed to assess how well bumpers prevent damage in low-speed impacts.

Only the Lexus ES 300 and the car it is based on, the Toyota Camry, received "acceptable" ratings.

The 2002 Nissan Altima and 2002 Acura TL were rated "marginal."

Along with the Jaguar X-type, "poor" ratings were given to the 2002 Hyundai XG350, 2002 Volvo S60, 2002 Lexus IS 300, and 2002 Saab 9-5.

The Jaguar sustained more than $2,000 in damage in the front-angle-barrier and pole tests and more than $1,000 in the front-into-flat barrier.

"A car really shouldn't sustain any damage at all in the flat-barrier impact," said Adrian Lund, the institute's chief operating officer. "It's a very minor impact and the energy of the impact is spread across the whole front of the car."

Ford Motor Co., of which Jaguar is a unit, defended the repair costs saying they are generally higher for premium vehicles.

"As with many luxury vehicles that use premium materials and incorporate more complex designs, our cost of crash repairs are often higher than non-luxury vehicles," Ford spokesman Sara Tatchio said.

In a statement, Jaguar said its first concern with design is occupant safety.

"Our designs fully comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards for occupant protection," the company said. Jaguar also said it is always looking for ways to improve crashworthiness while reducing repair costs.

Three of the nine cars tested were redesigns of cars tested previously by the organization and all three performed worse than their predecessors.

Those cars are: the 2002 Nissan Altima, which sustained a total of $3,099 for the four tests compared with $1,710 for the 2000 version; the 2002 Toyota Camry, which sustained a total of $2,109 compared with $1,374 for the 1997 model; and the 2002 Saab 9-5, which sustained a total of $4,092 in damage compared with $2,365 for the 1999 model.