IIHS Tests Small Cars’ Resistance to Crushing

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently tested 6 small cars for roof crush strength, and rated them to a much higher standard than mandated by the federal government.

In the IIHS test, cars are subjected to a metal plate pushed against one side of the roof, and the amount of force required to deform the roof by five inches or more. If the vehicle earned a ‘good’ rating, it resisted four times its own weight.

Unlike other IIHS tests of small cars, the majority of these cars faired quite well. The top honors went to the Smart ForTwo, which bested its larger competitors by withstanding a force nearly 5.4 times its weight. Chevrolet’s Aveo tailed the pack with a “marginal” rating, as its roof resisted three times the car’s weight. None of the cars tested, which also included the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Mini Cooper, and Honda Fit, received a “poor” rating.

“We anticipate that our roof strength test will drive improved rollover crash protection the same way our frontal offset and side tests have led to better occupant protection in these kinds of crashes,” says Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS.

Lund went on to say that small cars should perform better than a 6000 lb. SUV because of their lighter weight. Less heft means roof structures don’t need to be as strong in order to avoid deformation.

For the complete results of the test, visit the IIHS’ website here.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

@tweak8487: Contrary to what you may believe, size isn't everything. ForTwos use an extraordinarily strong safety cage, providing occupant safety that belies the car's diminutive stature. This structure was a high priority when Swatch and Mercedes-Benz first paired up on the project nearly a decade ago, and I doubt the vehicle would have reached production if it couldn't fend for its passengers.Do some reading when you have a chance--this result isn't completely surprising.
Tweak, you can 'doubt' all you want, but a little thing called "scientific evidence" says otherwise. Read the FULL IIHS article at IIHS.org.
I highly doubt a Smart would beat a Honda Fit in rollover testing. I simply find this hard to beleive.Have you ever seen a Fit and a ForTwo parked next to each other? Do that and tell me with a straight face that the Smart would be safer than ANY Honda.

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