The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began conducting frontal overlap crash tests in 2012. In these tests, the Institute tests how well a vehicle traveling 40 mph will protect a passenger if it hits a barrier in the front 25% of the front (the outer edges) of the vehicle.
In a small frontal overlap crash, a wheel of the vehicle can be forced into the foot-well of the passenger compartment leaving the driver with serious leg and foot injuries.
Since the IIHS testing began, car manufacturers have responded and improved the design of many of their models to do well in these types of car accidents.
Unfortunately, according to a new report by the IIHS, there is one class of car that is not rated well and that is mini cars.
Only 1 of 11 mini cars tested pass small overlap frontal crash tests
Mini cars were the worst performing group of vehicles in the frontal overlap crash tests of any groups tested.
Mini cars include the2013 and 2014 models of the Chevrolet Spark, Mazda 2, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, 2014 Ford Fiesta (after August 2013), 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa sedan, Toyota Prius C, Hyundai Accent, Fiat 500 and the 2013 Honda Fit.
Only the Chevrolet Spark received an Acceptable rating in recent testing. The other mini cars received a Marginal or Poor rating.
It is important in an accident that the occupant space remain intact so that the airbags and the restraint systems can do their jobs. If the occupant space is intruded on in an accident, then the passengers are at risk of serious injury or even death.
The Fiat 500 performed especially poor in testing with the door coming off of its hinges and open. Car doors should never open in a accident because the occupants risk being ejected.