It’s not just about deactivated cylinders, hybrids and plug-in electrics. Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells are becoming realistic options for environmentally conscious drivers now, too. Hyundai already sells one, the NEXO, though currently only in California. One 2019 NEXO was just put to the barrier test, and was awarded with a Top Safety Pick classification from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
A more-or-less midsize SUV, the NEXO is the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle the IIHS has ever evaluated. The testing period was limited to vehicles produced after June 2019. To be classified as a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must score a “good” rating in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. The vehicle must also achieve a good headlamp rating, and an advanced or superior rating for frontal crash prevention. The NEXO received good ratings in all six crashworthiness tests that the IIHS administered, and successfully avoided impacts at 12 and 25 MPH on the institute’s test track. There’s no word yet on when the NEXO might go on sale in the other 49 states, but stay tuned.