Big vehicles get poor gas mileage but are the safest to be in if you are in a crash. Small vehicles get very good gas mileage but passengers are almost certain to be injured in a car accident. These truisms may not be as true as they once were. It is still the case that, in general, occupants of big heavy vehicles will be safer in a crash than occupants of small, lightweight vehicles. But recent tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that small vehicles are improving their safety ratings.
The IIHS tested thirteen different models of small cars, and none of them earned a poor rating in crash tests. Considering the poor safety rating of small cars even as recently as five years ago, it was a pleasant surprise to see that six of the thirteen models tested earned the Top Safety Pick rating.
Most of the small vehicles that received the Top Safety Pick rating get mileage in the range of 40 mpg. The vehicles that were Top Safety Picks were:
- 2011 Hyundai Elantra
- 2011 Lexus CT 200h (hybrid)
- 2011 Nissan Juke
- 2011 Toyota Prius (hybrid)
- 2012 Ford Focus
- 2012 Honda Civic
Crash tests were performed on all of the vehicles including a front-crash test at 40 miles per hour, side-crash tests at 31 miles per hour, and rear-crash tests that included a safety rating on head restraints. Also included are ratings for roof strength in rollovers, and a requirement (for the top rating) that vehicles have electronic stability control which helps drivers avoid crashes.
The improvements are a positive development since many drivers are opting to purchase vehicles that get very good gas mileage. The flip side of improving ratings, though, as Miami car accident attorneys would point out, is that there are many vehicles on the road from previous model years that had crash ratings that were definitely lower than the ones earned by the new models.
Source: Newsnet5 "Will your car survive a crash test? Check out the top small car safety picks" 5/26/2011