The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts annual crash tests, which provides performance data for vehicles sold in the United States. The latest IIHS tests found that only one out of 12 minicars earned an acceptable rating, and none were ranked as good. Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm analyze the results of these small car crash tests.
Five minicars (the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, and Mazda 2) ranked as marginal, and six vehicles were rated poor. The six worst performing cars were the: Fiat 500, Honda Fit, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa, Toyota Prius, and Hyundai Accent. The top-performing car, rated as acceptable, was the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, earning it the 2014 Top Safety Pick.
The senior vice president for vehicle research at IIHS told the Chicago Sun-Times that these types of small, lightweight vehicles are characterized by their safety disadvantages. The minicars were the lowest performing vehicles of all groups tested so far.
The crash test replicates what would happen if the vehicle collides with an inanimate object, like a light pole, or another vehicle. About a quarter of the vehicle’s driver front end is crashed into barrier at 40 miles per hour. This type of test is somewhat different than how the government conducts its crash tests (head-on at 35 mph).
About half of the minicars were ranked poorly for structural integrity after the test, and six ranked as marginal. Structural integrity is the most critical factor in protecting passengers from serious harm in the event of an accident. If the structure of a vehicle collapses, the frontal airbags and seats can be moved out of position, further exposing passengers to injury
In the IIHS test, the Honda Fit deployed an airbag, however, the steering column was pushed so far into the vehicle that the crash dummy’s head hit the instrument panel. The safety group noted that the Honda Fit fared among the worst in potential injuries to the driver. The Fit did earn better marks for roof strength and side impact protection, however.
The Fiat 500 was also ranked among the worst in passenger injury protection; the impact ripped off the Fiat’s door hinges and caused the driver’s side door to fall completely off the car. This obviously puts the driver in great danger of being ejected from the car and potentially killed.
In both the Fiat and Fit, the car’s structure significantly intruded on the driver’s space during impact, and both vehicles showed high potential for injury to the driver’s legs. The Hyundai Accent was also downgraded for driver left thigh and hip injury.
Last year, the Fiat 500 was ranked as the worst vehicle for passenger protection by Insure.com, which compares insurance prices. The website analyzed rates for medical payments and injury protection policies and found that Fiat 500 policy holders paid the most for coverage.
These tests only reinforce what is already known: if safety is your top priority, choose a bigger vehicle. Our team of auto accident attorneys has been working with victims of all types of crashes for nearly 30 years, and knows how devastating an auto accident can be. We provide free case reviews to anyone seriously injured in a car, bus, train, or bicycle crash nationwide.