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Minicars don't measure up in front end crash tests

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Mini cars may be great for fuel economy, but they rate poorly when it comes to protecting passengers in head-on collisions. In fact, only the 2013 Chevy Spark was rated as “acceptable” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety following a test during which 25% of a car’s front (on the driver’s side) hits a stationary object at 40 pm.

Six of the 2013 models tested, including the “best selling” Nissan Versa, as well as the Toyota Prius C, Honda Fit, Fiat 500, and Hyundai Accent and the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage all rated “poor,” while Kia’s Rio, the Mazda 2m Toyota Yaris and 2014 Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback were deemed “marginal.” In fact, the Fit rated so low that Consumer Reports pulled their “recommended” rating for the car.

“Unfortunately, as a group, minicars are not performing a well as other vehicle categorized in the small overlap crash,” commented the Institute’s senior VP for vehicle research Joe Nolan.

The news comes at the same time that the safety watchdog group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, based in Washington DC, released their own report citing that deaths in crashes have been increasing, and noted that the number of people killed in 2012 was up 3.3% from the previous year, totaling 33,561.

An exception was New York, which had one less death in 2012, “1,168 vs 1,169 in 2011.”They also noted that New York State’s traffic safety laws are among the best in the country, along with Washington DC, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island. On the other hand, eleven other states, including Florida and New Hampshire were judged by the group to have the worst safety laws.