After crunching the sheetmetal of 13 new small cars, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has determined that the 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Honda Civic four-door, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus CT 200h, Nissan Juke, and Toyota Prius qualify for Top Safety Pick status.
To qualify for Top Safety Pick status, a vehicle must achieve a "good" rating on the front, side, rear, and rollover crash tests. The latest round of inexpensive small cars to be named a Top Safety Pick include the 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Honda Civic four-door, and Hyundai Elantra (made after March 2011). In fact, every vehicle involved in our six-car compact sedan comparison test has been named a Top Safety Pick.
The new Lexus CT 200h hybrid joins the Audi A3 as a Top Safety Pick in the compact luxury segment. The Toyota Prius, like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, is also a Top Safety Pick, and the Nissan Juke qualified too.
Just missing out on the top IIHS designation was the Honda CR-Z and Honda Insight, both of which received an "acceptable" rating for the rollover test and "good" in the other three tests.
The Scion xD hatchback got an "acceptable" rating in the front test and "good" in the other tests while the outgoing Nissan Versa was deemed "acceptable" in the side and rollover tests; however, an all-new Versa is coming for 2012, and we will see if it has improved.
Further down the list of recently tested small vehicles was the Nissan Sentra, which was "good" in the front test but just "acceptable" everywhere else. The Suzuki SX4 received a "marginal" rating in the rollover and rear crash tests, and the Dodge Caliber was "marginal" in the side test and "acceptable" in the rollover test.
For more safety test information, go to iihs.org or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safercar.gov.