In this paper, a generic two degree-of-freedom lumped-mass car model is developed which involves separate elements for longitudinal members and occupant compartment structure. This generic car model is validated against full-width rigid barrier (FWRB) crash test data of 7 different cars with model years ranging from 2002 to 2010. The validation process is a system identification procedure providing loading and unloading stiffnesses of cars, the force drop ratio, and the stiffness ratio between longitudinal members and occupant compartment structure. A methodology is developed to estimate the largest intrusion into the occupant compartment which is validated against FWRB crash test results at an impact speed of 56 km/h. The model estimates key responses involving deformations, mean accelerations and rebound velocities with a good level of accuracy. The developed model for FWRB impacts is a useful and analytical tool which can be used in the preliminary design of vehicle safety systems, accident reconstruction and compatibility analyses of cars, and in the assessment of injury risk of lower extremities due to intrusions into the occupant compartment.