• Dec 19, 2006
Due to the popularity of small, fuel-sipping cars, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has smashed up some of the newest offerings. And, as if you needed further proof to get optional side air bags on your next car, the minimally-bagged Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Scion xB and Toyota Yaris all got poor ratings while the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit, both with standard side airbags, and the Yaris with optional side bags, got top ratings in side crash testing

The Accent and Rio both come with standard air bags, but the tests showed significant driver injury was possible. Pity the xB owners who don't even have a choice of side air bags. The IIHS said that during testing, the xB's dummy's head actually struck the crash barrier. That's gotta hurt.

The IIHS also mangled a 2006 MINI Cooper and a Chevy Aveo with standard side bags. The MINI got an acceptable rating, while the Aveo scraped by with a marginal, just above poor.

Despite the Fit's remarkable side crash results, the Honda's front airbag didn't perform properly during the frontal crash. Honda says Fit owners can expect a recall to address the airbag's early-deployment.

For an IIHS summary of all the small cars tested, click here. For an IIHS summary video, go here.

[Source: The New York Times, The Associated Press via wcnc.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      ""The result of these tests showed that even with airbags, small cars are not as safe BECAUSE OF larger cars.""

      On side impact tests perhaps, but on the frontal impact tests, hitting a concrete wall has nothing to do with the size of the other car, if you hit a wall (or tree or pole or divider) in a small car, you will not fare as well as if you did it at the same speed in a larger car.

      If you tree huggers want to die for your cause and drive little death traps, feel free to do so. I'll take a bigger car with more steel between me and what I'm about to hit. The fuel economy is not that much different ( a dollar or two a day) that's pretty cheap insurance.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Form over function. Not typical of Toyotas. Good thing the xB replacement is coming soon.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rattle-trap Jap cars are unsafe? This is obviously news for the anti-domestic crowd.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ivan The Terrible says:
      "Moral: If what you need is an excellent MINIVAN, buy the ODYSSEY, the amazing, 4,500 lb, 28 mpg highway Odyssey (if youg et cylinder deactivation), and NOT Explorers, Expeditions, Extinctions, Suburbans, Mazda Crossover ugly butt vehicles, and the like."

      I take exception to the inclusion of the Mazda crossover vehicle(s?). We own a Mazda 5 (lowest priced 6-seater around). On the highway with the AC on we consistently recorded 32 mpg on I-75 in GA in June. Odyssey can't say that....oh...and we have side airbags standard.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Even if there were no other car around, wouldn't you rather be in a Camry"

      NOPE! I would fall asleep and be involved in a single vehicle crash. They'd find me in the ditch with my left turn blinker flashing non stop.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "3. I'd venture to say that Shawn's statement can be expanded on with the following:

      "The result of these tests showed that even with airbags, small cars are not as safe BECAUSE OF larger cars.""

      Dr. Wu's statement is an improvement over shawn's obvious obnservation.

      However, if you want to be precise, you should say

      "The result of these tests showed that even with airbags, small cars are not as safe BECAUSE OF fat-ass 5,000 lbs+, rollover-prone, poor handling in an emergency LARGE SUVS and Pickup trucks, driven by auto illiterate Soccer moms and hillbillies, that take $100 to fill theiur tank, and that is $50 more than it NEEDS to be, and in the process:

      1. They make fuel prices MORE, MUCH MORE, expensive for EVERYONE ELSE too ("It's the demand stupid!"

      2. They fund OSAMA And his suicidal murderers to train and buy the weapons to kill the silly soccer moms THEMSELVES with."

      Moral: If what you need is an excellent MINIVAN, buy the ODYSSEY, the amazing, 4,500 lb, 28 mpg highway Odyssey (if youg et cylinder deactivation), and NOT Explorers, Expeditions, Extinctions, Suburbans, Mazda Crossover ugly butt vehicles, and the like.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It is not all about size ... what the heck are we talking about again ... ?

      Actually, it is a bunch of factors. One big factor is that the personalities that buy big vehicles for safety, often end up driving much more aggressively then they would if they were in smaller vehicles. Big SUV are INVOLVED in more accidents then any other vehicle by far. I think that if you tested to see if SUV drivers know the size of their vehicle well -- say be having them drive between pillons or back up to pillons, 95% would fail badly.

      Same principle applies to motorcycles -- new drivers drive them like they are on a race track -- experienced drivers drive them very carefully and VERY defensively because they KNOW and UNDERSTAND the vehicle they are driving.

      Unfortunately, motorcycle drivers LEARN from their mistakes because they get hurt -- SUV drivers kill and injure hundreds of people, but not themselves, so they almost get more aggressive and self rightous.

      SUMMARY: Chrysler moved out of small cars under huge protest. I suspect they are thinking the same thing, that size (height particularly) does matter at the end of the day and that in North America you have to have something larger in order to pass these crash tests. They did this change and at the same time pushed for putting Stability systems on on their vehicle (which also works to stop roll overs) -- I suspect the two happenings are linked by a view of what they see happening to the market.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "-Well Lithous, can't you clearly see I was baiting you?"

      So, are the other 300 posts where you say stupid ass crap baits as well?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nissan does things the right way, I still think Toyota is getting TOO BIG and we will continue to see problems with this car manufacture.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "In Europe Yaris got top rating of 5 stars for protection, in tests that are more strict than US ones."

      I believe that IIHS has a stricter side-impact test than EuroNCAP, a heavier weight at a higher elevation to simulate being t-boned by an SUV. They have far fewer SUV's in Europe, so their test sled is lighter and lower, to simulate the impact of a passenger car.

      At least all-American (cough) Chevy Aveo did better in IIHS (frontal: A, side: M) than its badge engineered clone Holden Barina in the AU version of NCAP (2 stars). I think.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "I don't think an Explorer will get pushed under a semi as easily as a tiny car (that's one type of accident that happens with semis). It totally depends on the circumstances but I would rather be hit in a larger car by a semi."

      -I would rather die instant I hit a semi truck! 1 in every 6 accidents in the USA are with a semi and you are pretty much dead when that happens, make my death as quick as possible!
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