• Jul 28, 2008
Click above to view the video after the jump

Small, fuel efficient vehicles are all the rage right now, and many SUV owners are willing to do just about anything to get out of their gas guzzling transportation. Problem is, if you do get a new MINI or Yaris, you still have to drive it out into the automotive wilderness. SUVs and big pickup trucks are still omnipresent, and driving a vehicle that barely comes up to the bumper on an F-150 just doesn't look that safe. Automakers will tell you that their new go-karts get five stars in crash tests and that they're as safe as ever, but wouldn't you like to see what would happen if a three-ton SUV hit one of these miniature motor vehicles?

The good news is that there is just such a video that resides on YouTube, and it pits the massive Audi Q7 against the cute and tiny Fiat 500. While we would desperately like the folks at Fiat to send the 500 State-side, watching the video doesn't exactly make us want to drive one ourselves. Hit the jump to see how the Fiat fared, but if you have a strong affinity for crash test dummies, you may want to take a pass on this one.Thanks for the tip, JC!

[Source: YouTube]





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will happily continue to drive my 5-star crash-rated mid-sized sports sedan.

      You know what they say: You can count on Death and taxes. You can also always count on Newton winning most arguments where massive bodies collide.

      And yes, it is very good to be driving something nimble enough to miss wayward Q7's or F-150's...but strong enough that you and your offspring survive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is, if anything, not so much an indication that cars like the FIAT are unsafe, but that "cars" like the Audi are. Nothing that can do this to another car should be allowed on the orad. If they weren't, then cars like the 500 could be made even lighter and more efficent.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Problem: we need trucks (as in lorries) to transport goods, and these are way larger than any SUV. They cant be made smaller either, as it takes alot of engine to move 60 tonnes of wood.
          • 6 Years Ago
          Swede: I agree, but those drivers are -in theory- better trained than the average soccer mom or would be gangsta-wrapper in a Navigator/Q7/X6...

          Those are the "trucks" about which I worry. Also, we don't need as many trucks as we have because of course, trains exist...
      MikeJ
      • 6 Years Ago
      Note to self:

      Don't drive on the wrong side of the road in a Fiat 500.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Several good things..
      -The Audi A7 looks MUCH better after that accident. What a pig.
      -Had accident avoidance been part of the test, that Audi would have been off the road were it to actually turn and attempt swift movement. The Fiat naturally could swerve faster and more likely avoid the hit in the first place.
      -I can't find stopping distances on the web, but taking a risk with assumption.. I'd rather be stopping a small light car with top-notch safety tech than a 5,300 lb Audi.

      Sure- it's going to be safer by the numbers, but people buy SUVs thinking everything's perfect with them.. till they try to steer them out of harms way.. then it goes haywire.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This reminds me of the whole thing with Ford Explorers having roll-over problems.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dazza Well the comment system is obviously screwed up. I still maintain you're an idiot. You can't take your experience and that of "all [insert group of people] you know" as evidence of something. You're biased so you see what you want to see.

        Maybe out in Arizona you have no traffic? Again, you extrapolate the quality of driver in the entire country based on one isolated area.

        Europeans have no more discipline on the road than Americans. Add to that all the self proclaimed "knights"
        of the freeway you have in Europe. You know who they are, they are the ones that have to catch up to you and flash you or pass you and cut you off and honk at you to "punish" you for doing something that they consider wrong 5 miles back.

        Now, explain to me again how the number of deaths per length of roadway have nothing to do with the volume of cars per that length of roadway?
      • 6 Years Ago
      It seems a couple of bad things happened to the Fiat 500. Firstly the door deformed, which means in an accident it's going to be difficult to get the driver & passengers out for medical treatment.

      The second thing was that the airbag seemed to burst just after the driver was about 1/2 way through his foward thrust. That is, it receives the blow from the driver, and then the entire car is thrust backwards & the steering wheel into the drivers face by the momentum of the Q7.

      Other than that, that 500 is a remarkably tough little beast.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Both vehicle's safety cells did their jobs independantly. because the chassis rails of the Q7 are higher than the 500's, they obviously didn't share the load as both vehicles were intended to.

        This problem has been raised by many organisations in the past. I remember the Volvo XC90 has been designed with low-set chassis rails so that they can connect properly with a car should the worst happen.

        Regardless, both vehicle's protected their passengers using the structural rigidity of the vehicle.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, it's obvious none of you understands German. Before you get into the whole analysis (not just you Samuel, but all), it would be helpful to know the observations of those who did the test.

        They observed that the safety cells (the cages surrounding the vehicles, and absorbing the impact energy) missed each other. Obviously, the designers of the Q7 placed them too high. This rendered them useless, as they failed to do what they were designed for.

        This was the only thing they were trying to prove. I trust that the Fiat would have fared much better, had its safety cell had a chance to come in action. My criticism, and that of those who did the test goes only to SUV manufacturers. Here in Europe, most of the vehicles on the road are cars, and not SUVs. Thus, it makes much more sense that the SUVs adapt to the market, rather then have the market adapt to them.

        As for the US... I guess Snowdog formulated it very nicely. Driving is relatively dangerous.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Samuel, watch this long version of the video:
        http://www.adac.de/adactv/test_technik/Q7_Fiat500.asp?ComponentID=223370&SourcePageID=223167

        Towards the end they try to open the Q7's driver door and it's not as easy as it looks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      At 5500lbs curb weight, the Q7 out-weights most Suburbans up to the latest generation.

      Even then, it's only lighter by 200 lbs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My favorite part is the headlight of the 500.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I am surprised people could get that close too and not be behind some clear plastic barrier. And it's not about suing, its about protecting people from injury.

        That said, maybe if we make big hulking SUVs not so big and hulking, small cars will be better protected.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Only in Germany. In America, you'll have people sueing for "mental disturbance due to vehicular crash". Pathetic. Why are we such a pussy nation?
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you live in fear don't drive. It is one of the most widely done dangerous activities.

      Next show us the Q7 vs Semi. A month ago there was a news story of a Durango hitting a Semi. IIRC there were no survivors.

      There are all kinds of worse case scenarios. I drive a small car. I don't live in fear.
        • 6 Years Ago
        awesome post - would have said the same thing but you beat me to it. People that buy large vehicles, especially those of a tall, off-road, 4x4 nature so that they are driving a pinnacle of safety and always 'win' in an accident are forgetting the millions of even larger vehicles on the road. Simply put, if you get in a crash, nobody wins.
        Kumail
        • 6 Years Ago
        +1, i also drive small cars and hate driving suv's/minivans. while we drive our small cars for enjoyment and to get from a to b (with no stops in between :D), suv's/minivans are more likely to kill people in a car accident.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Let's all drive street legal retired M1 Abrams; till you hit the guy driving a street legal 500-ton Cat mining truck...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Me neither, especially since a nimble small car helps you avoid accidents in the first place. SUV owners should live in fear, because if they don't use a signal and hit me, I have a bat underneath my seat that they're going to be introduced to.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The sooner a special license is needed to drive these dangerous overbloated wheelbarrows, the better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are both so right!
        • 6 Years Ago
        If Americans learned to drive as well as Europeans, there wouldn't be any concern. But after extensive experience of driving in the States, I can safely say the standard of driving there is diabolocal. There's no motorway lane discipline whatsoever.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @MBS

        In my experience, which is considerable, US driving standards are abysmal. People can't drive manual. They can't parallel park. Never mind reversing, they can't even go around curves or corners properly! They all "swing out" to take a corner, and jerk around gentle curves like monkeys on acid. They can't stick to their lanes when a curve is clearly marked out for them. They all go 10mph over the speed limit, which is ridiculously low everywhere except the Interstate highways, where juggernauts are allowed to go stupid speeds -- and then they break the limit.

        Freight is usually poorly tied down; especially in privately-owned wheelbarrows like the F-X50s and Rams and Silverados and so on. These things often proclaim "off road", and I couldn't agree more.

        This atrocious standard of driving and road manners is shown in the way lanes are marked: they're wide enough to drive a bus down, yet people daren't pass. Lanes often don't match up at the entry and exit points of intersections. People go from the rightmost lane, turning right, to the center or left lane of the destination lane. They often refuse to merge with traffic despite the right lane being empty, because so many wheelbarrow drivers are in the center and left lanes.

        "Yield" is often read as "Stop"; "Stop" is usually read as "Stop about 15 yards up the street". And pedestrians in parking lots have no manners either: they just waltz out into the stream of traffic and expect people to come to a screeching halt.

        I'd go on, but I doubt Autoblog has the storage capacity.

        In short, MBS, you're very, very wrong. Go see an optician...
        • 6 Years Ago
        In my experience Americans tend to be much better drivers than Europeans. Maybe just because they have more experience? There seems to be many more drivers in Europe with superiority complex. Perhaps you are part of the problem there?
          • 6 Years Ago
          MBS - Americans are terrible drivers compared to Europeans. Many don't wear seat belts, don't indicate to turn corners or across roads, don't indicate either when changing lanes on motorways, hog centre and outer lanes at slow speeds and undertake frequently on motorways because they don't use the outer lanes as overtaking lanes. Many cut corners at terribly shallow angles to pull into a side street, and many also incessently drive yapping on mobile phones, sipping coffee, or applying make-up.

          Statistically, you are six times more likely to be killed on a US motorway compared to one in the UK or Germany, and it's easy to see why.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks like the 500's driver's airbag failed before absorbing the full impact. That blowout next to the column allowing the head to slide outside the window... not good.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Poor little Fiat, what an unfair battle.
      When cars are that small, they can only be safe if they crash "correctly", aka the safety cell collides and crumples at the correct height. The Q7's cell is a lot higher (it's like it was built to collide only with other Q7s and Cayennes...), so it missed the 500's completely, smashing it from above. If the Fiat had crashed into a concrete wall at the same speed, the driver would have fared a LOT better,

      Basically, it's like someone punching you in the chest, but missing and hitting the throat instead. No matter how tough you are, you're going down.
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