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#3256158 - 01/22/14 11:47 AM Small cars and small overlap front crash test
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 32917
Loc: Great Lakes
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/minicars-fall-short-for-small-overlap-frontal-protection

Good (just barely) news for Chevy Spark. Bad news for all others.

In all honesty though, even many larger cars did poorly in this test as they haven't been designed in a way to pass it. I'm sure within a few years the new designs will be introduced that will do well in this test, and the added cost will be passed on to us - the consumers.

And then IIHS will come up with yet another test that nobody can pass so that the insurance companies can hike up your rates "because your car isn't safe."
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#3256167 - 01/22/14 11:54 AM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 30368
Loc: ME
You said it all.

Since side impacts are safe now we're going to start ramming telegraph poles head-on again?

How about making *them* softer? Ski areas do it! LOL

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#3256177 - 01/22/14 12:09 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
rjundi Offline


Registered: 03/16/04
Posts: 7256
Loc: USA
This size of car class IMHO is a poor value anyway and that is too bad less safe.

The FIT for example did poorly in this test. I really don't see the value of that vehicle vs a Civic which achieves significantly better MPG, larger, better comfort and gets a good rating for the same crash test. The base price difference is $3000.

I don't get these really small cars.
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#3256183 - 01/22/14 12:15 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
stranger706 Offline


Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 1046
Loc: Gulf Coast
The last paragraph from the article -

"Frontal crash tests like these only indicate how a car will perform in a crash with a similarly-sized vehicle. In real life, however, cars this size are much more likely to hit a larger vehicle, the Institute pointed out. Insurance Institute crash tests have indicated that, in crashes between larger and smaller vehicles, occupants in the smaller vehicle will suffer significantly greater injuries.

"These cars have an inherent safety disadvantage in many kinds of crashes," Insurance Institute spokesman Russ Rader said."
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#3256200 - 01/22/14 12:23 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13031
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete

In all honesty though, even many larger cars did poorly in this test as they haven't been designed in a way to pass it.



Your choice of words is interesting. Are we designing cars merely to pass the test, or to be safe? If the car is protecting the passengers, it should be able to pass the test...it's not supposed to be the other way around.
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#3256201 - 01/22/14 12:24 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
RISUPERCREWMAN Offline


Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 1041
Loc: RHODE ISLAND
Whether I'm driving my 2011 Crown Vic or 08 F-150 I feel safe! Small cars are for the birds!
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#3256207 - 01/22/14 12:27 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: dparm]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 32917
Loc: Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: dparm
Are we designing cars merely to pass the test, or to be safe?

Good question. How do we determine if a car is safe? Typically we determine this by looking at how it did in one test or another because this data is readily available.

Sure, you could search for fatality and injury rates instead, but since these accidents happen in uncontrolled environments, you never know if you're comparing apples to apples.
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#3256224 - 01/22/14 12:35 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
VNTS Offline


Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1533
Loc: NE
saw this on the morning news, guy said the Fit is a basically a death trap.

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#3256232 - 01/22/14 12:43 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
surfstar Offline


Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5820
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
How does this relate to past "car-size classes"?

Remember how the Civic now-a-days is larger than an Accord from the past? e.g. - the Fit/Versa were designed to fill the void by the Civic/Sentra as they continued to grow with each redesign.

A Tacoma is much bigger than it used to be. Eventually we'll all be driving tanks.

I'm assuming a 2014 Fit is safer than a 1988 Accord, so at what point is it 'good enough'?
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#3256236 - 01/22/14 12:45 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: dparm]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 7868
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: dparm
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete

In all honesty though, even many larger cars did poorly in this test as they haven't been designed in a way to pass it.



Your choice of words is interesting. Are we designing cars merely to pass the test, or to be safe? If the car is protecting the passengers, it should be able to pass the test...it's not supposed to be the other way around.

I think the criteria of the test is passenger safety. Nothing else determines the rating I believe.
It is an odd test though, they don't "pad" the barrier to simulate hitting another car.
Overall though, I don't see a big problem with adding additional safety tests. Probably this small offset one isn't even a big challenge to figure out. I imagine at some point they will add air bags on the outside of the car which might cost a little to figure out. But 2 feet of controlled decelleration would go along way to reduce the structural requirements of the actual car to be safe and may even save money?
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#3256239 - 01/22/14 12:46 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: surfstar]
cptbarkey Offline


Registered: 02/27/12
Posts: 3007
Loc: texas
Originally Posted By: surfstar
at what point is it 'good enough'?


when there is no more inherit conflict of interest.

case in point: ban all pickup trucks and large SUVs from public highways. grin

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#3256245 - 01/22/14 12:48 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
shDK Offline


Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 712
Loc: Denmark
It did below average in the euroNCAP test back in 09 aswell. There are however several good examples of minecars that did well in the euroNCAP.

Renault ZOE and Audi a1 Are Good examples.

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#3256252 - 01/22/14 12:52 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13031
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: dparm
Are we designing cars merely to pass the test, or to be safe?

Good question. How do we determine if a car is safe? Typically we determine this by looking at how it did in one test or another because this data is readily available.

Sure, you could search for fatality and injury rates instead, but since these accidents happen in uncontrolled environments, you never know if you're comparing apples to apples.



I'm not saying the tests aren't necessary. I just don't like the idea that cars are designed to pass the test. A standard is still a necessity to compare vehicle safety.

There have been many vehicles over the years (Volvo, hint hint) that were so safe to begin with that they were passing the tests before they were even required. That is a sign of good engineering and prioritizing safety. I think this philosophy is applicable in many areas of engineering and design.
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#3256266 - 01/22/14 01:01 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: dparm]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 32917
Loc: Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: dparm
That is a sign of good engineering and prioritizing safety. I think this philosophy is applicable in many areas of engineering and design.

I agree. But this costs money, so many economy-tier car manufacturers won't go out of their way and over-engineer on safety unless some test makes them look bad.

Then there is the separate issue of the test's validity. Is it really reflective of some real-life scenario and what is the likelihood of its occurrence? Designing cars is about compromises - you can't have it all and still meet a given price point that will assure sufficient demand. So I can't necessarily blame the engineers either.
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#3256271 - 01/22/14 01:04 PM Re: Small cars and small overlap front crash test [Re: Quattro Pete]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 30368
Loc: ME
Everything's a compromise. Mercedes got flamed 20 years ago because their cars didn't crumple "as much" in our 30 mph brick-wall test, and the occupants felt more decelleration than they otherwise would have-- even though they were "safe". Merc pointed out that head-on crashes were often one corner and they were glad to be stiffer.

Did you know seat belts have some stretch built in? This helps in the vast majority of crashes but is a compromise in the super high speed doozie ones.

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