AS AN EMERGENCY SERVICE RESPONDER, I’VE NOTICED THAT OCCUPANTS OF LATE-MODEL SUBARU VEHICLES ARE SURVIVING SOME PRETTY SEVERE SIDE-IMPACT COLLISIONS WITH RELATIVELY MINOR INJURIES, IF ANY AT ALL. ALTHOUGH THE DOORS MAY BE JAMMED, THE SIDE OF THE VEHICLE PROBABLY HELD UP REALLY WELL.
B-pillars (the pillars between the
front and rear doors) in today’s
Subaru Forester feature short
reinforcement rods (colored orange)
mounted along the mid section.
The reverse side is reinforced by a
high-strength, high-tension steel
plate (colored blue). These add to
strength and rigidity, enhancing
During an extrication seminar I was conducting, several members of an area fire department approached me with a question and a challenge. They had encountered a Subaru Forester involved in a crash and were unable to cut through the B-pillar with any of their extrication tools. Their cutter and their reciprocating saw were both unable to sever the pillar. They actually went back to the junkyard the next day and used a gasoline-powered rotary saw with an abrasive blade to totally remove the B-pillar. They brought it to the seminar to show me.
When I saw the pillar, it was clear that something was different about the Forester B-pillar construction. It was eight layers thick! One of the layers was a round steel rod that resembled a concrete reinforcement bar (rebar). That B-pillar had more layers of steel than I had ever seen in a vehicle.
Another incident involved a four-door Subaru WRX STi. The Subaru collided with a minivan at an estimated speed of 75 miles per hour. The broadside impact required the rescue team to remove the roof. The Subaru A-pillars were cut through, but the B-pillars again resisted every effort by the fire department to cut them.
I was able to study this Subaru vehicle-construction feature in more depth. I learned that the reinforced B-pillars are actually just one component of what Subaru calls its Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame body structure.