On paper, crash tests are typically straightforward affairs. All the researchers have to do is put various sensors in the car, put in the crash test dummies, and hook the car up to a rig. The vehicle is then sent flying down the pavement, typically at 64 km/h, and smashed against either a wall, a pole, or a deformable barrier.

What isn't usual is sending two cars down the road and crashing them against each other. However, that is exactly what the Chinese New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP) did recently. For this test, they got the outgoing version of the Honda HR-V and the Geely Coolray. With that, the C-NCAP took the term head-to-head testing to a different level.

Honda HR-V and Geely Coolray go head to head...literally image

But before we show you the crash test, let's take a closer look at two test subjects. According to the ASEAN New Car Assessment Program (ASEAN NCAP), the Honda HR-V is a five-star car. ASEAN NCAP gave it a near-perfect score for adult occupant protection and 73 percent for child occupant protection.

Honda HR-V and Geely Coolray go head to head...literally image

Meanwhile, the Geely Coolray also received five stars from ASEAN NCAP as the Proton X50. It also offered high levels of occupant protection, just like the Honda. However, the HR-V was tested under the old scoring system while the Coolray performed with the new points system. Nonetheless, both are proven to be safe cars.

So how did the two fare when smashed against each other? Watch the video below.

By the looks of it, the two performed identically and held up well in the violent impact. After all, the crossovers had a combined speed of 120 km/h when they slammed into each other. However, a closer look reveals how safety has moved forward in less than a decade.

Honda HR-V and Geely Coolray go head to head...literally image

Starting with the HR-V, its safety cell remained intact although there was some buckling by the A-pillar. There was also a little more floor intrusion in the Honda. The door skin of the HR-V was also pulled back, but it didn't affect the crash performance. However, the Coolray's structure held up even better with no deformation in the A-Pillar.

There was also notably less intrusion compared to the HR-V. It goes to show that, in just five years, vehicle structures have become more solid. That's not to knock on the HR-V, as it still fared well despite being a seven-year-old design. With the new HR-V on the way, we can expect it to be even safer than ever.