Minicars Least Safe On Road

By: Elizabeth Donatelli Email
By: Elizabeth Donatelli Email

December 19, 2006

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety tested many vehicles and found that any car that's very small and light isn't the best choice for safety.

As gas prices continue to rise, more people are buying minicars, but research shows there isn't a huge difference in fuel efficiency between minicars and small cars.

"Some larger cars get nearly as good gas mileage as minicars. The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic for example get good gas mileage, but they are bigger and heavier and will offer more protection on the road than do minicars," said Adrian Lund of the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.

The safest of the eight cars tested is the Nissan Versa, which received good ratings in all three categories: rear, side, and frontal impact. The other cars that received two good ratings are the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris with the optional side airbags. Neither were rated good in rear protection.

"if you're shopping for safety, you should remember that small, featherweight vehicles are not the best choices. You wouldn't put a lightweight into the ring with a heavyweight boxer and out on the road, small lightweight vehicles don't offer you as much protection as larger, heavier ones," said Lund.

Below is a list of cars tested and their ratings.

NISSAN VERSA: Front-Good, Side-Good, Rear-Good
TOYOTA YARIS (with side airbags): Front-Good, Side-Good, Rear-Marginal
HONDA FIT: Front-Good, Side-Good, Rear-Poor
MINI COOPER: Front-Good, Side-Acceptable, Rear-Marginal
CHEVROLET AVEO: Front-Acceptable, Side-Marginal, Rear-Poor
SCION xB: Front-Good, Side-Poor, Rear-Marginal
TOYOTA YARIS (without side airbags): Front-Good, Side-Poor, Rear-Marginal
HYUNDAI ACCENT/KIA RIO: Front-Acceptable, Side-Poor, Rear-Poor

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