City Cars Flunk IIHS Crash Test: Honda, Fiat Fare Worst

City Cars Flunk IIHS Crash Test: Honda, Fiat Fare Worst

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced the results of its 2014 sub-compact crash tests and they aren’t good.

Last month, the IIHS released its initial list of 2014 Top Safety Picks and the Chevrolet Spark was the only “minicar” to make the list. Now the Institute has completed testing on a total of 11 sub-compact cars and there aren’t any newcomers.

“Small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. That’s why it’s even more important to choose one with the best occupant protection,” IIHS senior vice president for vehicle research Joe Nolan said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as a group, minicars aren’t performing as well as other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash.”

SEE ALSO: 2014 IIHS Top Safety Picks Announced

Even with the Top Safety Pick designation, the Spark still only managed to score an “acceptable”rating. It lost points in the small overlap crash test, an area that proved to be even more devastating for the rest of the segment. The test is tougher than the older moderate overlap test because the vehicle’s front-end crush zone is bypassed. That can lead to the occupant compartment.

Honda Fit, Fiat 500 Perform Poorly


“The two worst performers are the Honda Fit and the Fiat 500,” the IIHS said in a statement. “In both cases, intruding structure seriously compromised the driver’s space, and the steering column was pushed back toward the driver.

The dummy’s head barely touched the Fit’s airbag before sliding off and hitting the instrument panel. The Fiat 500’s door tore off, increasingly the likelihood of passenger ejection.

Last week, Honda unveiled its new 2015 Fit at the Detroit Auto Show, set to reach dealers later this year. In an official statement, the company said it expects the 2015 Fit to perform much better than the outgoing model.

“We anticipate it will earn top safety scores from the [IIHS], with a ‘Good’ rating in all test modes including the rigorous small overlap front crash test,” the company said in a statement. “We also expect the 2015 Fit to earn the highest possible Five-Star Overall Vehicle Score rating from [NHTSA].

Fiat has yet to respond to an email request for a similar statement regarding the 500.

Every sub-compact model tested returned a “marginal” or “poor” rating in the structure category, which is the most fundamental element of occupant crash protection. If the structure is compromised during a crash, airbags can be knocked out of position.2014 Minicar IIHS Small Overlap Results

Of the 11 vehicles tested, seven were downgraded compared to last year for allowing too much occupant forward motion during a crash. In those cases, the seatbelt either failed to react soon enough or the dummy’s head missed or slid off the airbag. Side curtain airbag protection in eight of the tested vehicles proved to be insufficient during the small overlap test.

Chevrolet’s Spark managed to score well even though it returned a “marginal” structural rating because the dummy was well controlled during the crash simulations and injury measurements were low.

None of the cars were given the “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating because the IIHS now requires frontal crash prevention systems for its highest safety award.

  • Soyntgo4it

    Funny how the article states 2 vehicles but others perform poorly also.

  • Hajime

    buy american full size pickups for best safety . bigger is always better ! usa ! usa !

  • Bob

    Did you miss the graphic that shows all the vehicles?

  • Hilarious larry

    Let me be the first to formally request that AutoGuide film a comparison between the Fiat 500 and Honda Fit that includes a jousting scene.

  • Soyntgo4it

    I said article not graph

  • Kacy Lovelace

    Gross. I’ll bring any one of my relatively small Saabs and you bring your ‘merican full size pickup, and we one will drive them straight into one another. I promise to call 911 and help rescue you from your truck afterward.

  • From the article, then:

    “Every sub-compact model tested returned a “marginal” or “poor” rating in
    the structure category, which is the most fundamental element of
    occupant crash protection.”

  • vr4

    Yeah. I plan on making it a habit to crash into a solid 90° corner reinforced object. Get back to me when you test them against another vehicle.

  • Anonymous

    No trees on your route to work?

  • narg

    I read a couple years ago that a Chevy Spark was a better choice in this segment to any of the “fashion” cars (Fiat, Mini, Smart). This report solidifies that statement in so many ways. GM is continuing to get better and better seemingly blowing the competition away in terms of real world safety and usability. Once they learn to advertise, they may see sales explode.

  • narg

    Funny how you missed where it said it and the graph. DOH!

  • Soyntgo4it

    Funny how you can’t read either. I said the article not the graph obviously I saw the graph moron.

  • Sandy

    Love my fiat 500, just had my first head on it the Jetta, it was totaled, my smart car also never worried me

  • Mike

    What are you smoking? Lol…..GM safe? GM reliable? Yah right.