Friday, October 9th9.2°C

Subcompact cars fare poorly in insurance industry's new frontal crash tests

DETROIT - Subcompact cars fared poorly in new crash tests performed by an insurance industry group.

None of the 12 minicars tested got the highest rating of "good" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Chevrolet Spark was the only car that earned the second-highest rating of "acceptable." Six of the cars — including the segment's bestseller, the Nissan Versa — got the lowest rating of "poor."

All of the cars were from the 2013 or 2014 model years.

"Small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. That's why it's even more important to choose one with the best occupant protection," said Joe Nolan, IIHS's senior vice-president for vehicle research.

The institute's small overlap test, which was introduced in 2012, mimics what happens when a car's front corner collides with another vehicle or an object like a utility pole. In the test, 25 per cent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph(64 kph).

The test differs from the U.S. government's frontal crash test, in which a car strikes a rigid barrier head-on at 35 mph (56 kph).

IIHS says hitting only part of the front end makes it harder for cars to manage the energy from a crash. In several of the subcompacts, the structures collapsed, which can exacerbate injuries because the air bags, seats and other parts get knocked out of position.

In the test of the Honda Fit, for example, the steering column pushed so far into the vehicle that the dummy's head slid off the air bag and hit the instrument panel. IIHS said the Fit was one of the worst performers in terms of potential injuries to the driver.

Honda responded that the 2015 Fit, which goes on sale in a few months, should earn a top score on the small offset test. The recently redesigned Honda Civic, which is one size up from the Fit, is among five small cars with "good" ratings on the test. A four-door Civic is around 300 pounds(136 kilograms) heavier and 18 inches(45.7 centimetres) longer than the current four-door Fit.

The current Fit does get top scores in the institute's other four tests, including measurements of roof strength and side impact protection.

IIHS said the Fiat 500 was also one of the worst performers. The crash force ripped the door hinges off the 500, causing it to fall open during the test.

Spokesman Eric Maybe said the Fiat 500 meets all government safety requirements and, like the Fit, gets "good" ratings in all four of the institute's other crash tests.

Cars with "marginal" ratings were the Kia Rio, Mazda2, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta. Cars with "poor" ratings — in addition to the Fit, the Fiat 500 and the Versa — were the Toyota Prius C, Mitsubishi Mirage and Hyundai Accent.

The Canadian Press

Read more Business News

Recent Trending

Today's Market
S&P TSX14046.06+67.40
S&P CDNX550.63+3.57
S&P 5002019.35+5.92
CDN Dollar0.7704+0.0019
Natural Gas2.495-0.003

Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.225-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.23-0.02
Metalex Ventures0.05+0.00
Russel Metals21.82+0.27
Copper Mountain Mining0.66+0.05
Colorado Resources0.07-0.01
ReliaBrand Inc0.0189+0.0023
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.02+0.00
Mission Ready Services0.08-0.01
Decisive Dividend Corp3.11-0.10
Diamcor Mining0.97+0.03



2421941#314-450 All Star Court
2 bedrooms 1 baths
more details
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading

Income for life?

Photo: Thinkstock.comIn almost every conversation I have with clients these days, the topic swings to interest rates. What direction they’re going, how long will they stay where they are and how...

Perfect (reno'd) home

Photo: Thinkstock.comHow many times have you found a home in the perfect location, but it needs too much work as per the home inspection? There is a great program available through most lenders that w...

5 Claim misconceptions

Photo: Thinkstock.comIf you have been hurt in an accident or as a result of medical negligence you will likely look to your friends and family for some advice on how to deal with the situation. These ...



Member of BC Press Council