Despite the fact that smaller, compact cars are becoming increasingly popular with customers across the United States, that does not mean that they are always the best choice when it comes to vehicle safety. In fact, two new Kia releases and the Nissan Sentra fared poorly in the comprehensive safety test.
Testing for safety features in small cars
The U.S. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) tests car safety based on measurements in a number of categories, these include rollover crashes, rear-impact, side-impact, and front-impact crashes. To make it to the top of the list as far as vehicle safety is concerned, the vehicle must score a ‘good’ in all four categories.
A shift towards fuel efficiency
As Americans are preparing to pay more at the pump than ever before, it is normal to see manufacturers aim for better fuel efficiency. The days of gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs is over, consumers demand a more compact car that is more fuel efficient. Unfortunately, manufacturers need to make sure that the focus rests on the entire safety package, not just frontal crashes.
This means side curtain airbags that will protect the head that is at risk for hitting the window frame or dashboard. It means safety belts that will prevent a driver from coming too far forward when involved in a crash, and it means a strong occupant compartment that will prevent external extrusion if the car is involved in a frontal crash.
The importance of getting a safe car
It is perfectly understandable that consumers are looking for ways to save money at the pump. However, the fact is that savings at the pump must never come at the expense of driver and passenger safety. Especially now that more young drivers are opting for these smaller, compact cars, it is more important than ever before that the purchasing decision take overall safety into consideration as well. Some of the top-rated small cars in safety include
- Toyota’s Corolla and Yaris models
- Honda Civic, Fit, and Insight models
- Ford’s Fiesta and Focus models
- Fiat 500 model
- Chevrolet’s Cruze and Sonic model
Keeping safe is the most important aspect
According to the IIHS, buyers are better off choosing a four-door sedan over a hatchback or two-door model. Even though IIHS has handed out “top safety picks” in both those categories, the sedan consistently performs slightly better in crash testing.
Remember that vehicle safety plays an important part in the degrees and the type of injury that someone may experience when involved in an automobile accident. While you can protect yourself and your loved ones with appropriate child safety seats and by using seat belts, you cannot prevent an accident attributed to poor design. That is one of the reasons it is important to look at the safety features and safety rating of any new car and base your decision upon that.