The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) small front-overlap crash test remains a seriously tough nut to crack for many automakers. Results from the most recent round of testing on small cars are in, and only the 2014 Chevrolet Volt received the organization’s Top Safety Pick + designation. Of the 32 vehicles tested, 19 earned a Good or Acceptable rating for small front-overlap crashes.
Despite its heavy battery, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt stilled pulled off an Acceptable rating for the stringent small front-overlap test, and a Good rating in the four other tests. During the small front-overlap test, the occupant compartment remained reasonably intact, and the dummy’s condition indicated a low risk of significant injuries. The 2014 Chevrolet Volt earned a Top Safety Pick + award because of its crash ratings in combination with its optional front crash prevention system.
Top Safety Pick ratings go to the 2014 Mini Countryman, Ford C-Max Hybrid, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S, and Subaru BRZ. None of these small cars were considered for Top Safety Pick + status given their lack of front crash prevention systems. The best performer in this group in the small front-overlap test was the 2014 Mini Countryman, which scored Good across the board, with the exception of an Acceptable structure post-impact.
The poorest performers in this test were the Nissan Juke, Nissan Leaf, Mazda 5, and Fiat 500L. The occupant compartments in these small cars were severely compromised, often causing injury to the dummy. In many cases, the steering column was shoved out of position, taking the airbag with it and increasing the risk of injury to the dummy. In light of the sub-par performances from the Mazda 5 and Nissan Leaf, Consumer Reports revoked its previous “Recommended” rating for these small cars.
Check out the IIHS video footage of the small-car crashes, which indicate pretty clearly which vehicles we’d rather not be in during a small front-overlap crash.