Posting in Technology
The Italian automaker's tiny model earned top safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
It may be small, but it can take a beating.
Fiat's tiny 500 model received top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In order to receive the award, cars must earn top marks in front and side impact tests, in addition to tests measuring rear-impact whiplash. Cars must also have electronic stability control, a feature that allows drivers to stay in control when maneuvering quickly. The only other "minicar" to earn the award was the Ford Fiesta.
The safety award applies to 500s produced after July 2011, when modifications were made to the positioning of the driver's seat.
Keep in mind that the award is given out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is a private group funded by auto insurance companies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which evaluates cars based on a different series of crash tests, has yet to rate the 500.
Drivers should keep in mind that ratings are based on crash tests which simulate impact with a car of a similar size. While the 500 may have done well in these tests, most cars on the road are larger. In the event of impact with a larger car, the smaller car (likely to be the 500) would suffer more significant shocks than the larger one.
But as small cars go, the Fiat 500 seems to be a safe bet.
Oct 18, 2011
Reentering into the North American markets, Fiat 500 is making a worldwide impact. Having excellent styling and enough space for two passengers, the car is rated well with better manual transmission fuel economy too.
Put the Fiat 500 or the Ford Fiesta between a moving mass at highway speeds and an immobile mass of the same or greater weight than the vehicles in questions and see how they survive. Crush proof isn't one of the tests and yet this sort of crushing is one of the highest probable causes in automobile fatalities. Better than no tests at all, but not too much. It's something American drivers inherently and subconsciously realize and why they have clung to their larger and higher fuel consumptive cars - safety in mass when you're between between a rock and a hard place - or two trucks.
Yes but in a head on collision the lighter car will bounce away (less mass) and it's passenger cocoon should remain intact if it has the same safety rating as the Larger vehicle. (my HHR and occupants walked away from a head on collision with a Tahoe, it bounced rather than absorb the impact). However, with 2 vehicles of similar mass - the one with the lower safety rating will likely have injuries or worse.
This, as I recall, was (is) the focus of the Smart car safety design: to bounce off larger, more massive objects/vehicles, rather than absorb the impact. Haven't done the research to see how well this has worked - if at all - in real-world collisions. Perhaps someone else here?