Small Cars Struggle in Latest IIHS Crash Testing

Small Cars Struggle in Latest IIHS Crash Testing

Only one compact out of a dozen earned a “good” rating in the latest round of testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with the small overlap crash test proving difficult to protect against.

Honors go to the 2014 MINI Cooper Countryman while the Hyundai Veloster and Scion xB received “marginal” ratings. Four vehicles got a “poor” rating: Fiat 500L, Nissan Juke, Nissan Leaf and Mazda5.

Also undergoing testing this time around were electric vehicles with the Chevrolet Volt earning an “acceptable” rating in the small overlap crash test. When equipped with a front crash prevention system, the Volt was the only vehicle in this set of testing to receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Both the Leaf and the Volt experienced no issues with their batteries, though the Leaf failed to rank well due to excessive intrusion into the cabin.

The small overlap test, which has been in use since 2012, simulates a offset collision at 40 mph, similar to hitting a barrier with just 25% of the front of the car.

SEE ALSO: Why Rear-Drive Cars Struggle in Small Overlap Test

Earning an “acceptable” rating were the Ford C-Max hybrid, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ.

“Collapse of the occupant compartment is the downfall for four small cars in this group, including the Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke and Nissan Leaf,” said Joe Nolan, senior vice president for vehicle research for the IIHS. “A sturdy occupant compartment allows the restraint systems to do their job, absorbing energy and controlling occupant motion.”

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