There’s only so far safety equipment can go before physics takes over, according to the experts at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which crashed three highly-rated micro and minicars into three midsize sedans to find out how well the small cars held up in a realistic crash. Though the outcome of the crashes is hardly surprising, the severity of damage to the three small cars tested is alarming.
The finding: Though they crash well in laboratory offset barrier (a mildly crash-absorbing wall) testing, they don’t do so well when they’re rammed head-on into a midsize sedan.
IIHS crashed a Honda Fit into a Honda Accord, a Smart Fortwo into a Mercedes-Benz C-Class and a Toyota Yaris into a Toyota Camry.
The results were essentially the same across the board: The sedans held up well (the Honda and Mercedes received Good ratings, while the Camry received an Acceptable), but the little cars all performed especially poorly. The diminutive Smart performed the worst, but that’s hardly to say the other two held up in a safe manner. The Yaris’ driver’s door was nearly sheered off, the Smart went airborne and rotated 450 degrees and intrusion into the Fit’s passenger compartment was excessive.
“The Smart is the smallest car we tested, so it’s not surprising that its performance looked worse than the Fit’s. Still both fall into the poor category, and it’s hard to distinguish between poor and poorer,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund.
Seems like a “duh” sorta thing really, but with everyone worried about MPG I guess it is easy for people to forget they’re still driving a tiny deathtrap.