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Gingersnap
04-14-2009, 09:57 AM
Crash tests show small car ratings are misleading

Updated 1h 46m ago | Comments 111 | Recommend 8 E-mail | Save | Print | Reprints & Permissions |
By James R. Healey, USA TODAY

Buyers choosing the smallest cars for low price and high gas mileage could be endangering themselves and their passengers, says a major auto-safety researcher.

In new crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rammed three automakers' smallest cars into their midsize models. Although the small cars had passed other IIHS tests, they flunked in collisions with larger but still-fuel-efficient sedans. "The safety trade-offs are clear," IIHS President Adrian Lund says. "There are healthier ways to save gas."

IIHS, funded by auto insurers, usually crashes cars into stationary barriers at 40 miles per hour. This time, it was car into car, each going 40 mph.

Barrier tests, in effect, show how a car holds up crashing into one like itself, Lund says. These tests show colliding with a larger car at the same effective speed as the barrier test.

IIHS picked three small cars that got its top rating of "good" in barrier tests. In these tests, they fell to "poor" The report comes as small cars take a larger share of U.S. new-vehicle sales. While R.L. Polk registrations show 13.8% of vehicles on the road are classed "small cars," their share of new-car sales rose from 14.5% in 2006 to 18.1% last year, says Autodata.

"We're hearing people say, 'Everything gets a 'good' rating now, so I might as well buy a small car,' " Lund says. "A lot of people are forgetting that the laws of physics still hold" and even a little bit bigger still is safer.

The mileage trade-off may not be much. A Honda Fit, for instance, is rated 31 miles per gallon in city/highway driving. A larger Civic gets 29 mpg.

The IIHS tested:

Fit vs. Accord. The Fit crash-test dummy registered severe leg injuries. The dummy's head also slapped through the air bag and whacked the steering wheel.

Toyota Yaris vs. Camry. Yaris nearly lost a door. Its driver's seat tipped forward. The dummy's head hammered into the steering wheel.

Daimler Smart vs. Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan. IIHS says the Smart "went airborne and turned around 450 degrees a dramatic indication of the Smart's poor performance, but not the only one." Much of the interior was shoved into the crash dummy "from head to feet."

I would like to see the stats on a SmartCar.

USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-04-14-big-cars-safer_N.htm)

patriot45
04-14-2009, 01:08 PM
I would like to see the stats on a SmartCar.

USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-04-14-big-cars-safer_N.htm)

There would be none! What could you run it into and have it survive? I've been in sturdier golf carts!

hazlnut
04-14-2009, 01:22 PM
I really wish the Ford SUV Hybrid had a third seat. It would make our next auto decision a lot easier. Or if the price of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes down (doubtful).

I don't feel safe in the smaller cars--but we got killed at the pump last summer. It's hard not to take a good look when you see 40mpg.

AlmostThere
04-14-2009, 05:53 PM
I want one of these. I'd give it to my brother-in-law. A 2009 Honda Fit in a frontal crash test. I guess the car had a FRONTAL at some point.

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z82/lap0118/2009HondaFit.jpg

patriot45
04-14-2009, 06:10 PM
I want one of these. I'd give it to my brother-in-law. A 2009 Honda Fit in a frontal crash test. I guess the car had a FRONTAL at some point.

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z82/lap0118/2009HondaFit.jpg

Ha, so thats what I bumped with my Hummer the other day! :D

PoliCon
04-14-2009, 11:08 PM
You have to laugh at people who buy gimic cars like these micro cars and those idiotic hybrids. :rolleyes:

Gingersnap
04-14-2009, 11:13 PM
You have to laugh at people who buy gimic cars like these micro cars and those idiotic hybrids. :rolleyes:

Yes and no. We deploy a fairly large fleet and we really rack up the miles. We use hybrids for inter-city traffic. It does cut down on the fuel costs. However, we only use hybrid SUVs for that since sedans are useless to us.

PoliCon
04-14-2009, 11:29 PM
Yes and no. We deploy a fairly large fleet and we really rack up the miles. We use hybrids for inter-city traffic. It does cut down on the fuel costs. However, we only use hybrid SUVs for that since sedans are useless to us.

Great they save you a couple of bucks on gas - but they cost more and when you end up having to get the battery replaced ANY savings you made go out the window. :rolleyes:

Besides - half the selling point for hybrids is that they are better for the environment - which is a lie. They may not burn as much gas - but even using the enviroweenie standards - they are worse. The contents of the batteries in those things is FAR worse than the fumes from burning gas for the environment!

Gingersnap
04-14-2009, 11:38 PM
Great they save you a couple of bucks on gas - but they cost more and when you end up having to get the battery replaced ANY savings you made go out the window. :rolleyes:

Besides - half the selling point for hybrids is that they are better for the environment - which is a lie. They may not burn as much gas - but even using the enviroweenie standards - they are worse. The contents of the batteries in those things is FAR worse than the fumes from burning gas for the environment!

Our usage is fairly big league and we run them into the ground - there's no resale value when we're done. So far, so good. We haven't had to replace a battery yet. That's why I didn't go for one as a personal vehicle. But I don't rack up 70,000 miles a year on my personal car, either.

As fleet cars, they're doing okay for us. ;)

Rockntractor
04-14-2009, 11:57 PM
The big ones won’t always protect you either. I was driving a ford diesel 1 ton a year ago when a mid size 2002 Chevy crossed the line and hit me head on. It completely destroyed her car but she was fine. My truck was totaled. Her insurance replaced my truck and paid for all my doctor bills.

marinejcksn
04-15-2009, 12:05 AM
I drive a Mazda 3, is that considered a small car? It gets good mileage but I had an accident in 2007 where I rear-ended a stationary Ford Ranger at around 15 mph. My car suffered over 5 thousand bucks in damages, his truck had no damage whatsoever. Next car I get is going to be a civic or accord hybrid. :D

lacarnut
04-15-2009, 12:35 AM
I saw the crash test on TV where they replayed it a couple of times. The med. size car hit the smart car lifted it up off the ground and it spun around 340 degrees. Anyone driving a smart car in a head on crash would not still be living. Previous test of the smart car hitting an stationary object and one getting T-boned do not tell the real story. A 2 ton car hitting that piece of crap will demolish it and its occupants. It is a death trap waiting to happen.