2011 Honda CR-Z: Safety

Overview

In addition to its environmental strengths, the 2011 Honda CR-Z integrates a wide range of sophisticated safety technologies that include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure; dual-stage, multiple-threshold driver's and front passenger's airbags (SRS); driver's and front passenger's side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and side curtain airbags. The ACE body structure is a Hondaexclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes.

Advanced Safety Technology: The 2011 CR-Z safety features include:

Standard active safety systems

  • 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA ®) with traction control (commonly referred to as Electronic Stability Control)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Standard passive safety systems

  • ACE body structure
  • 3-point seatbelts at all positions
  • Seatbelt load limiters and automatic tensioners
  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags
  • Front-seat side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Active head restraints

Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure

The 2011 CR-Z features Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure technology that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. The ACE design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Additionally, ACE helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during head-on or offset frontal impacts with a significantly larger or smaller vehicle.

Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, the ACE system actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered "pathways" that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle's total structure, the ACE system can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the ACE concept is its unique front polygonal main design structure.

Pedestrian Injury Mitigation Design

Structures in the front of the 2011 CR-Z are designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research by Honda shows that certain design features can dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.

Key pedestrian injury mitigation features:

  • Hood is designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian
  • Sufficient clearance exists between the hood and hard engine parts
  • Windshield base has a unique section structure for efficient impact energy absorption
  • Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports
  • Deformable hood hinge

Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®)

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is an electronic stability control system that works in conjunction with the drive-by-wire throttle and 4-channel ABS systems to enhance controllability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to help the vehicle maintain the driver's intended path of travel.

The VSA system constantly analyzes data from six sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral G forces and yaw rate. It compares the driver's control inputs with the vehicle's actual response. Whenever the actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA intervenes with a corrective action.

For instance, if VSA detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. In the event of understeer, VSA may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the car to its intended course. VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction.

VSA is calibrated to function in a near-transparent manner, and in many cases a driver will not even be aware of its operation. However, anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes in the instrument cluster. While the driver can deactivate the VSA stability enhancement and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS remains fully operational at all times.

Brake Assist

A significant VSA function on the 2011 CR-Z is recognizing emergency braking situations and almost instantly applying added braking force. This brake assist feature is controlled by a logic in the system that determines when the pedal stroke and speed exceed a typical range - as they would in a panic stop. At that point, the ABS modulator pump increases braking pressure while the pedal is still being pressed to ensure maximum stopping force, an action that helps shorten braking distance as much as possible.

4-Channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution

The CR-Z is fitted with 4-wheel disc brakes that have vented front rotors and solid rear rotors. (Please see Chassis section for more information.) The ABS system also incorporates Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions force based on the vehicle's weight distribution.

Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags

Both the driver and passenger are protected by advanced front airbags (SRS) that incorporate dual-stage and multiple-threshold activation technology. One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seatbelt usage and other factors.

Like other Honda vehicles, the driver's front airbag is located in the steering wheel while the passenger airbag is located on the top of the dashboard. When deployed, the passenger airbag inflates upward and then rearward to maximize its protective potential while reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused by the activation process itself.

Side Curtain Airbags

Standard side curtain airbags provide enhanced head protection for the driver and passenger in all CR-Z models. The side curtain airbag system is designed to rapidly deploy in the event of a side collision to help protect the heads and necks of occupants. The large airbag covers almost the entire side window area, utilizing a low temperature, compressed gas inflator to inflate. Five sensors are used to detect side collisions and determine optimum timing for airbag deployment.

Driver and Passenger Side Airbags with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)

Driver's and passenger's side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each seatback are designed to provide pelvis and thorax protection in the event of a severe side impact. In addition, the passenger's seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a small child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy to help protect the occupant in a side impact. This unique system utilizes weight sensors and sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag.

Active Head Restraints

Both of the CR-Z's front seats are fitted with an innovative active head restraint designed to help reduce the likelihood of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. The head restraint is mechanically connected to a lumbar plate located inside of the seatback via special links. If a rear impact takes place, the seat is accelerated against the occupant's body. That action causes the head restraint to move forward in a carefully prescribed arc. The effect of this motion helps reduce forces that otherwise might impact the neck and musculature during a collision.

Seatbelts with Automatic Tensioners and Load Limiters

The seatbelts are equipped with automatic tensioners and load limiters to help minimize injury potential in a sufficient frontal collision. When a sufficient impact occurs, the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt (shoulder) to help hold the seat occupant firmly in position. The load limiter then can provide a small amount of controlled seatbelt slack shortly after the automatic tensioner is activated to limit the peak restraining forces applied to the torso, reducing the potential for injury.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The CR-Z is fitted with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that alerts a driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the vehicle's tires is significantly below the recommended level. Using four sensors (one in each tire) TPMS monitors and transmits information on tire air pressure to the ECU. When the pressure in one or more tires drops to a potentially critical level, it causes a low tire pressure indicator (located in the instrument cluster) to illuminate.

Honda's Safety R&D Facilities

Honda operates two of the world's most sophisticated crash test laboratories for the development of improved safety designs and technologies. The Tochigi facility in Japan is the world's first indoor multi-directional car-to-car crash testing facility and plays a critical role in the development of enhanced designs for occupant and pedestrian safety and vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility. Honda R&D America's Raymond, Ohio development center performs advanced testing on all North American-developed models. The facility features the world's first pitching test sled, which aids efficiency by enabling economical and speedy crash-test simulations with certain interior safety components, such as seats and seatbelts, prior to conducting a crash test with an actual vehicle. It also features one of the world's highest-resolution impact barriers, which enables precise measurement of the distribution of impact load forces on a vehicle.

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