WASHINGTON (WUSA) --We've seen the car crash tests countless of times.

But for the first time in 17 years, a new type of frontal crash-test, conducted by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, exposes a dangerous vulnerability.

"We still have 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year, and we estimate that about 20-25 percent of those deaths occur in small-overlap crashes," says IIHS President Adrian Lund.

These so called small overlap crashes occur when the side of a car clips an obstruction and the heavy engine block does not absorb much of the blow.

"Most of the automakers are not building their safety cages to account for this kind of crash," Lund says.

Only the Acura TL and the Volvo S60 received a good overall rating while the Infinity G sedan rated acceptable.

The remaining eight cars were graded either marginal or poor.

"Over the years, cars have gotten much, much safer. And sure, 10 years from now there may be some new tests that will reveal some vulnerability and those cars will get safer," says CBS Newswatch Executive Editor Jack Otter.

All of the automakers tested say they stand by their safety record. And, some say they'd incorporate this knowledge into designs moving forward.

But, Mercedes questioned the test altogether.

The IIHS says it would like to see all automakers start designing vehicles that better protect people in these crashes, which likely means heavier, less fuel efficient cars.

Adrian Lund says, "But in the long run, I think these costs are going to be pretty minimal."

IIHS New Frontal Crash Tests

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety says they tested luxury cars because that category is usually the one to get the safety innovations first.

And, the IIHS says that makes these results even more surprising.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wusa9.com/1eqS2tR