Gas mizers flunk crash tests

Subcompact cars that offer great fuel economy and low price points didn't fare well in IIHS crash tests. The Nissan Versa did receive the institute's top rating but officials say none of the cars tested provided stellar protection. The Toyota Yaris not equipped with side air bags and the Scion xB received the lowest scores. A Yaris with side airbags fared better. One analyst said it was "foolish" for Toyota to bring over cars designed for Japanese driving.

The Versa, on the other hand, was designed for Europe and North America with larger dimensions. The Honda Fit was rated "good" in front and side crashes but "poor" in rear-end collision. Both the Fit and Versa have standard side-impact air bags. Toyota says all its vehicles will have standard side air bags by 2009 model year. Other cars receiving a "poor" rating in at least one of the tests include Hyundai Accent and Chevy Aveo. The Mini coupe received "good" for the front, "acceptable" in side impact and "marginal" in rear impact. Full results of the test will be released Tuesday.

[Source: John O'Dell / Los Angeles Times]

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