VIDEO: Fiat shows that really small cars don't have to crumple

In the wake of some videos showing a couple of different Chinese cars being put through the standard European frontal offset crash test, Fiat has demonstrated how it's done properly. While the Brilliance BS6 and Chery Amulet would have likely left their occupants maimed or lifeless, the tiny new 500 earned five stars. The passenger compartment remained intact and the doors didn't pop out or buckle. Small cars can be built to be safe and hopefully whatever Chrysler ultimately sources from Chery will meet that same performance standard. A video of the test and Fiat's press release are after the jump.

[Source: Fiat]

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The Fiat 500 achieves Euro NCAP five-star rating

The Fiat 500 has achieved the prestigious Euro NCAP five-star rating (with a total of fully 35 points) so taking over top spot in its segment for safety. This is an important award which, added to those assigned recently to the Fiat Bravo, the Grande Punto and the Fiat Croma, confirms the special attention Fiat Automobiles Spa pays to all aspects of driver and passenger protection.

In the case of the Fiat 500, this effort has produced such excellent results that the new car is one of the safest in the entire automotive firmament. To achieve its rating, the designers examined every possible type of accident: front and side collisions, overturns, rear-end collisions. The different speeds at which collisions take place, the different types of obstacle involved and the protection of occupants with widely varying physical characteristics, were also taken into consideration.

The coveted award was achieved thanks to the many sophisticated devices that the Fiat 500 offers as standard, starting with those dedicated to passive safety: 2 dual stage front airbags, 2 front side airbags for chest/pelvis protection, 2 window-bags and a driver knee airbag. Front seat-belts with double pretensioner and load limiter are also standard.

In addition, the new car guarantees constant, predictable road behaviour that will forgive many driver errors and enable the person at the wheel to overcome critical situations without difficulty. As well as a high performance braking system, the Fiat 500 deploys the most sophisticated electronic devices for the control of the car's dynamic behaviour: from braking to drive assemblies: ABS with EBD (Electronic brake force distribution) and, above all ESP (Electronic Stability Program), the system which cuts in to assist the driver when conditions approach extremes and the stability of the car is at risk. The device is standard on the version with Fire 1.4 16v 100 bhp engine and an option on the other two units. Further, the ESP proposed on the Fiat 500 includes a number of additional systems: the ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) which limits the slip of drive wheels in poor grip conditions; the MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) which cuts in during an abrupt change of gear during a climb, restoring torque to the engine and so preventing excessive drag on the drive wheels; the HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance), the electronic-hydraulic device that cuts in during emergency braking; and, finally, the Hill-holder which assists the driver in hill starts.

In a word, the Fiat 500 is a car designed and built to achieve the highest levels of quality, as today's safety award by the Euro NCAP confirms. This total protection feature has contributed to the commercial success of the model: in fact, since the launch the car has won over Italy and France with about 70,000 orders. A great success prior to the marketing of the car in the main European markets: from 27 October in Germany and, thereafter, in Spain, Poland, Switzerland and Austria.

Turin 29 August 2007

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