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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

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2009 smart fortwo

2009 smart fortwo

MSRP $16,990 Passion Convertible

EPA MPG:

33 City / 41 Hwy

Horse Power:

70 @ 5800

Torque:

68 @ 4500