WASHINGTON – Unlike most cars on the road, the pint-sized 2008 Smart fortwo evokes a simple question at first glance: “How safe is it?”
The micro car, the smallest car for sale in the U.S. market, offers a good level of safety, according to new crash tests conducted by the insurance industry.
The 8-foot, 8-inch vehicle received the highest rating of good in front-end and side-impact testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helping address some concerns that consumers may be more vulnerable in the tiny two-seater.
The tests, released today, show how well vehicles stack up against others of similar size and weight. The institute noted that the front-end test scores can’t be compared across weight classes, meaning a small car that earns a good rating isn’t considered safer than a large car that did not earn the highest rating.
Adrian Lund, the institute’s president, said a small car may be more practical in congested urban areas where serious, high-speed crashes are less likely. The institute conducted the crash test to help guide consumers who want a small car that can give them good protection.
“All things being equal in safety, bigger and heavier is always better. But among the smallest cars, the engineers of the Smart did their homework and designed a high level of safety into a very small package,” Lund said.