Although the new minicars gaining worldwide popularity may outperform standard sized vehicles in a parallel parking competition, according to new crash test data, these sub-compacts do not measure up to their larger-sized counterparts when it comes to safety.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently put 11 new minicars through a series of frontal crash tests. Only one of these minicars received an "acceptable" rating, making the vehicles "the worst performing group of any evaluated so far."
The crash test, also referred to as a "small overlap" or "small front overlap," simulates what occurs when the front corner of a car hits another vehicle or stationary object at 40 miles per hour. These type of crashes typically make up nearly 25 percent of all serious or fatal injuries to front-seat occupants in traffic accidents.
The reason for the extremely dismal safety ratings? In seven of the 11 minicars tested, seatbelts failed to hold crash test dummies in place, or airbags proved less than fully effective. In one of the minicars, the airbag did not deploy at all.
Source: Most new "minicars" fail frontal crash tests.” Cbsnews.com. January 22, 2014.