Smaller Cars Struggle To Meet The Demands Of The IIHS's Overlap Test

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While an individual may opt for a smaller automobile in order to save on gas mileage and be a bit more environmentally friendly in the process, a new report shows that there could be one drawback to these vehicles:  they may not be as safe as their larger counterparts in some situations.

The report from CNN highlights the fact that the recently introduced small overlap crash test has proved problematic for lightweight vehicles like the Ford Fiesta, the Nissan Versa, and the Fiat 500.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has put these vehicles along with eight others through the crash test, but an Acceptable grade was only handed out to the Nissan Spark.  The Good rating proved elusive to all.

The overlap test is relatively new but will be included in vehicle ratings from the IIHS in the future.  The test determines how well a given automobile would fare if it strikes another object, like a vehicle or some solid stationary item, on its corner.  This is somewhat of a weak spot on many vehicles that are otherwise set up to reduce danger from a side or a frontal crash.

Some automakers were quick to respond to suggested deficiencies as related by these tests.  Mazda and Honda both acknowledged that older versions of their vehicles have not had the opportunity to be put together in a way that takes into account the new test.