What 20 years of safety progress looks like in one crash

The Mexican-built Nissan Tsuru is dead, or at the very least, dying. It is being escorted off the production line because it will not pass Mexican safety regulations that will come to effect in 2019. Americans might recognize the Tsuru, because underneath the badging and nigh-imperceptible cosmetic changes it is still very much a Nissan Sentra sedan, the one introduced here for 1992.

You might not recognize the Tsuru at the end of this IIHS crash-test video, however. It goes up against a 2016 Nissan Versa and illustrates how far safety engineering has come in two decades. No matter how fondly you remember the old Sentra, it is woefully outdated in the safety department; 2016 Tsurus do not have equipment we take for granted, like airbags, or ABS brakes, or modern crash structure.

The 50 percent overlap crash at a combined closing speed of 80 miles per hour nearly obliterates the Tsuru and makes it dreadfully difficult for the driver to survive, but the Versa's safety engineering does what is expected of it.

It is still sadly common that vigorously decontented and scarcely equipped cars are being offered in developing markets by carmakers, either by rebirthing outdated cars or engineering simpler cars with a "for the price, this will do" attitude. An earlier crash test video series of Indian-market cars showed just how severely cars like this will crumple, and at even more modest speeds.

It's not strange for a car enthusiast to wistfully remember cars that were discontinued long ago, wishing they were still available new, but this is the other side of the coin: they just do not hold up like a new car.

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