How safe are small cars? Crash results released Wednesday could have a BIG impact

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New crash tests results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety could cause concern among owners of subcompact “mini-cars”.

“Only one of the eleven vehicles earned an acceptable rating. None of the vehicles were rated good and the rest were marginal and poor,” says IIHS senior vice president Joe Nolan.

Six of the cars earned the Institute’s lowest rating of “Poor.” Those were the Nissan Versa,Toyota Prius c, Hyundai Accent, the Mitsubishi Mirage, Chrysler Group’s Fiat 500 and the Honda Fit.

The Mazda2, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and Ford (F, Fortune 500) Fiesta were deemed Marginal, the second-worst of four possible ratings.

The worst performer was the Honda Fit, which earned a “poor” rating in the test along with five other models and all but one of the rest were “marginal.”

The Chevrolet Spark is the one getting the “acceptable” rating.

The other ten were rated “marginal” or “poor” in what’s called a small overlap test, which replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or object like a tree or utility pole.

In the small overlap test, a vehicle hits a barrier at 40 miles per hour with just one-quarter of its front bumper. The impact occurs on the left side, just in front of the driver’s seat.

This concentrates crash forces in a small area that’s outside of the strong crash safety structures built into most new vehicles.