Mini-cars – safe or really, really small death traps?

In today’s world a lot of people want to save money on buying cars and gas.  What better way to do that then buy buying a small, economically, cute little mini-car.  These cars are becoming more and more popular and, I thought, were on the safe side. Well at least as safe a SUV striking one of them could be. Sort of like an elephant stepping on mouse.  The mouse doesn’t really stand much of a chance.  But I digress.  The mini-car for all intents and purposes is a safe vehicle. Or I thought as much.  The latest round of crash tests just came out and it was not good.  Mostly they do not protect from off side font end crashes.

Of the latest group of 11 models that were evaluated, only one was rated acceptable by the insurance institute for Highway Safety (source: Newsday 1/23/14), the test conducted was one in which 25% of the driver’s side strikes a fixed object at 40 MPH. None of the cars that were tested were rated good. This is a new test that shows more of what can happen in the real world. Most front end test were done by the front end hitting straight on but in the real world you would try to steer out of the way of the oncoming object and most likely hit them off center. This kind of accident causes the car to bypass the crumple zone that can protect the occupants.  The new test showed that these mini-cars do not protect anywhere near as well as a compact car or larger.

The list of the how the mini-cars faired were as follows

Chevrolet Spark-         Acceptable

14 Ford Fiesta-            Marginal

Toyota Yaris-              Marginal

Kia Rio-                      Marginal

Mazda 2-                     Marginal

Fiat 500-                      Poor

Honda Fit-                  Poor

14 Mitsubishi Mirage- Poor

Nissan Versa-              Poor

Hyundai Accent-        Poor


(Results apply to 2013 unless noted-source Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)


I am not saying you should not buy one of these cars, God knows I can’t even fit in one. But do your homework and find the safest one out there. Wear your seatbelts and don’t even think of texting and driving.