Small car crash tests...mixed bag

Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 6:35pm

The insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an industry testing lab for new cars.
And their crash tests are even stricter than Uncle Sam’s.
And this round was for compact cars.
The Institute found that most crashes were what is called offset; one fender hitting the fender of the oncoming car. And since we aren’t in England, that means left side fenders hit. And that’s the driver’s side.
“So that is the configuration of this test,” says spokesman Russ Rader. “Where a tested vehicles hits a rigid steel barrier at 40 miles per hour, but just the left corner of the vehicle is involved.”
Some small cars did well.
“The best performer was the Honda Civic, the 2 and 4-door models. They were the only ones to earn a good rating. The Dodge Dart, the Ford Focus, the Hyundai Elantra and the Scion Tc are rated acceptable.”
And some did not.
“The Chevy Sonic, the Volkswagen Beetle and the Chevy Cruze were the second lowest rating of marginal,” says Rader. “And the Nissan Sentra, Kia Soul and Kia Forte were the lowest rating of poor. We see crash test dummies heads missing airbags entirely, or just glancing off of them. It used to be a religion among the manufacturers that safety was not a big selling point. And that has been a big change over the last 20 years. Now automakers advertise their safety ratings.”

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