Small as it may be, the Smart Fortwo just received a giant safety endorsement.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced that the 2008 Smart Fortwo (the smallest car for sale in the U.S. market) earned its top rating of "good" for front and side crash protection. For protection against rear impact whiplash, the Fortwo's seat/head restraints earned the Insurance Institute's second highest rating of "acceptable".
More than three feet shorter and nearly 700 pounds lighter than a Mini Cooper, Smart's Fortwo is the smallest car the Insurance Institute has ever tested.
Aware that consumers were concerned about the safety of traveling in the tiny Fortwo, Insurance Institute President Adrian Lund said "the engineers of the Smart did their homework and designed a high level of safety into a very small package."
To compensate for the Fortwo's small body and front-end crush zone (which is a key component in reducing injury risk in serious frontal crashes), Smart's restraint system was designed to absorb more energy as occupants "ride down" a crash. A stiff side structure and standard side airbags also contribute to the Smart's "good" test rating.
However, the driver door did unlatch during Fortwo crash tests, confirming a finding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's side tests released last month.