There's no denying that modern vehicles are far safer than they were several decades ago. Engineering advancements have saved many lives over the years, so much so that some automakers even have a zero-fatality safety pledge. The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme has been testing cars since 1993 and has now crashed one of the nine vehicles that were part of the first round of tests 30 years ago.
ANCAP was able to find a second-generation Mitsubishi Magna (TR) and slam it into a moving barrier. At first glance, it might seem like the mid-size saloon performed admirably for a 30-year-old car, but looks can be deceiving. Dummy injury measurements recorded during the crash test show the driver would've faced a high risk of a fatal skull fracture and brain injury. It's due to the lack of an airbag inside the steering wheel.
1993 Mitsubishi Magna ANCAP crash test
The driver's upper and lower legs and pelvis were also prone to serious injuries, along with a moderate chest injury – and it gets worse. The ANCAP claims the rear passenger would've also suffered serious injuries, particularly in the abdomen area after slipping beneath the lap portion of the seatbelt.
ANCAP has shared an excerpt from the original crash testing report from 1993, and predictably, it's pretty scary: "The Magna driver dummy's forehead struck the top of the steering wheel rim and its face hit the top of the steering wheel column during the crash. The mid-range head injury criteria indicated brain injury was possible. The top of the passenger dummy's head struck the dashboard, recording a high-range head injury criteria, indicating that brain injury was likely."
In 2017, ANCAP highlighted the progress made in car safety by doing a crash test that involved a head-on collision at 40 miles per hour between a 1998 Toyota Corolla and its 2015 equivalent. If you haven't seen it, we've attached it below.