Crash Tests Score Honda Civics Safest Among Small Cars
A key factor in determining whether you will be badly hurt or killed in a New York traffic accident is the car you are in.
Some vehicles are simply safer than others.
Among small cars, for instance, the Honda Civic has earned the highest marks in recent crash tests. Kia and Nissan Sentra fared poorly.
Across the board, small cars were found to offer as much protection in front-end collisions as compact crossovers and SUVs.
These are some of the findings from a series of overlap crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to the Wheels blog in the New York Times. An overlap test simulates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or a fixed object like a tree or utility pole.
The IIHS tested 12 small cars of various makes and models by running them into a five-foot-tall barrier at 40 miles per hour. The test was designed so that 25 percent of the car’s front end on the driver’s side received the impact of the collision. Because the vehicle hit the barrier on one side and not head-on, the primary crush-zone protections built into the middle of the vehicle did not come into play.
Six of the tested cars were rated as Good, Acceptable or Top Safety Pick. The other six were scored as poor overlap crash risks.
Safe Cars Mean Fewer New York Accidents
Following are the test results:
- The two-door and four-door Honda Civic models earned top honors.
- The Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Scion tC were rated as Acceptable.
- Three cars – the Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic and the Volkswagen Beetle – were rated Marginal.
- Three others – the Kia Soul, Kia Forte and Nissan Sentra – received the lowest rating of Poor.
The Dodge Dart earned an Acceptable rating even though in one test the driver’s door opened when the hinges tore away from the frame. Helping its rating were seat belts and front and side curtain air bags that worked well to protect the crash dummy’s head and upper body.
Defective Air Bags and Collapsing Cages
Here are some of the defects that resulted in lower scores for some of the tested vehicles:
- The vehicle’s safety cage collapsed on impact.
- The steering wheel column was unstable. This pushed the front air bags sideways so that the crash-test dummy’s head struck the instrument panel.
- Side-curtain head air bags either did not deploy or did not extend far enough forward to provide protection.
In the Volkswagen Beetle, for example, the steering column moved nearly five inches to the right while the dummy’s upper body moved forward and to the left, barely contacting the front air bag, the Times reported. Slack in the car’s safety belt allowed the dummy to move forward 13 inches and hit its head on the dashboard.
The Kia Forte’s restraints and structure performed the worst of all the small cars tested.