The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced the winners of their award for Top Safety Picks in the category of small cars. The winning cars all received “good” ratings in four of the five categories that were tested in the institute's small overlap front crash test.
The test is designed to replicate crashes that occurred either with another vehicle or with a utility pole. After putting a crash dummy in the driver's seat, the accident caused 25 percent of the front end of each car to hit a barrier that was 5 feet tall at an impact of 40 mph. First introduced in 2012, the award was designed to recognize cars that offer the best crash protection.
#1 The winning car was the 2013 Honda Civic. It received the top rating – of “good,” for both the two and four-door models of the car. The tests rank the cars on the amount of occupant protection they offer.
#2 2013 Ford Focus – rated “acceptable.” During the testing, the 25 percent impact shows that safety features that are supposed to protect the driver don't function properly, increasing the likelihood that the occupant compartments would incur severe damage, if not collapse altogether.
#3 2013 Dodge Dart – Even though the seat belt and both the front and side-curtain airbags offered adequate head and upper body protection, the car exhibited door hinge problems on both the first and second tests. Two tests were necessary because of camera malfunctions. During the second test, the door hinges came off the door, causing the driver side door to open. Still, the car earned the “acceptable” rating.
#4 2013 Hyundai Elantra – Inadequate seat belt tension caused the dummy to move forward 1 inches, however, both the front and side-curtain air bags provided enough protection to earn the car the “acceptable” rating.
#4 2014 Toyota Scion tc
Toyota changed the airbag algorithm so that the side-curtain airbags deployed properly in the test. That change allowed the car to earn an “acceptable” rating. Otherwise, it would merely have received the “marginal” rating.
Cars that were considered the worst of the bunch included the 2013 VW Beetle, with a “marginal” rating because the dummy moved forward 13 inches and the steering wheel moved to the right by 5 inches, not offering sufficient protection at all. The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic only earned a “marginal” rating for restraints because the side-curtain airbag didn't deploy soon enough to prevent the dummy's head from moving toward the window, so it wound up on the outside of the side-curtain airbag, without any protection at all.
The booby prize went to the 2014 Kia Forte because the the side-curtain airbags deployed but failed to protect the dummy's head at all. The seat belt was so loose that the dummy's head hit the instrument panel and windshield.
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