Conventional wisdom holds that larger vehicles are always safer in an accident, which can make it tough to convince shoppers to buy a small car. To counter that argument, Mercedes-Benz produced this video showing how its smallest car, the 2016 Smart Fortwo, fares in a 50-percent overlap head-on crash with one of its largest cars, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The size disparity between the two cars is dramatic. The 2016 Smart Fortwo used for the crash test weighs just 2478 pounds and measures 105.9 inches long and 65.4 inches wide. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, meanwhile, tips the scale at 5088 pounds and measures 206.5 inches by 74.8 inches. According to Mercedes, the size differential means the S-Class has more than twice as much kinetic energy as the 2016 Smart Fortwo when the pair meets at 31 mph in the head-on crash.
As the video clearly shows, both the 2016 Smart Fortwo and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class keep their passenger compartments safe and unharmed by absorbing as much energy as possible in crumple zones. The Fortwo uses high-strength steel for 51 percent of its construction and ultra-high-strength steel for 13 percent of its body, helping protect occupants despite the car's considerably smaller size. Though the crash shown here looks dramatic, Mercedes says that the dummies reported forces that were within "biomechanical limits" -- in other words, a human could have survived this impact.