The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety this week released the findings from their latest round of crash testing of a dozen small cars, with mixed results.
The grouping of compact cars was subjected to a full battery of crash tests including the challenging new IIHS small-offset test which has been the great leveler of many popular models, causing many automakers to go back to the drawing board since the test began in 2012.
The Mini Countryman was the only car in-fact which scored a “Good” rating on the small-overlap crash test, and scored the best of all cars tested across the board getting only an Acceptable rating on structure.
The Chevrolet Volt also scored high earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating, the highest rating a car can earn. It performed well in frontal and side impact tests, and received and acceptable rating on the small-offset test.
While the Mini Countryman actually scored better than the Volt, it didn’t earn the Top Safety Pick + rating because starting this year the IIHS requires cars offer a crash prevention system to qualify for it.
Cars not doing so well in this round of testing were the Nissan Leaf and Mazda 5. The Leaf earned a Poor rating in the small-offset test, the passenger compartment crushing considerably into the survival space.
The Mazda 5 scored the worst in the small-offset test earning a “Poor” scoring in five out of the seven categories. Mazda issues a statement after these findings saying they are reviewing the results and will seek to improve future designs.
Other cars scoring low in the IIHS small-offset test included the Fiat 500L and Nissan Juke, both with Poor ratings due to poor structure performance.
As you can imagine, the automakers have mixed views on the IIHS small-offset crash test. Those who perform well like it, those who don’t question it.