Small, electric, hybrid cars put to the test

Small, electric, hybrid cars put to the test (Image 1)
Small, electric, hybrid cars put to the test (Image 1)

Small cars, especially electric and hybrid cars, are more popular than ever. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put electric and hybrid cars through a newer, tougher crash test for the first time as part of a test of small vehicles.

The Mini Cooper Countryman was the only small car to receive a good rating in crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Joseph Nolan, Senior VP of Vehicle Research, for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “The occupant was well-restrained. Side curtain airbags, frontal airbags, seat belts — all work great together.”

The institute performed its newer small overlap test on 12 small cars. The 40 mph crash simulates what happens when the front corner of the car collides with another vehicle or tree.

It’s the *first* time the institute performed this particular test on electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Ford C-Max Hybrid and Electric Chevy Volt received acceptable ratings.

The Volt was the only car in the test group to earn the 2014 top safety pick plus, the institute’s highest award.

Nolan said, “The top safety pick plus also rewards vehicles that have forward collision warning systems and systems with autonomous breaking, which is available on the Volt. The Volt’s electric competitor, the Nissan Leaf rated poor. The Fiat 500-l, the Nissan Juke and the Mazda 5 were the worst performers. The safety agency says their passenger spaces came apart in the crash tests.

The IIHS reports the Mazda 5 was also the only 2014 model car to earn a marginal rating in its side impact test — one of the institute’s 4 other crash tests. The institute has tested 32 small cars since 2012 and 19 have earned its top awards.

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