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The Smart ForTwo earns the top rating for front and side impact protection in crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The ultra-tiny Smart ForTwo earned top marks in side and front crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Wednesday. The two-seat car did not earn the Institute's Top Safety Pick designation, however, because it didn't earn top marks for whiplash protection.
But even if the ForTwo improved its whiplash protection, it would not be named a Top Safety Pick, said IIHS spokesman Russ Rader. The institute does not have a specific size requirement, but the ForTwo is simply too small to be considered safe under all conditions, including highway driving, he said
Smart would not comment on the IIHS's decision regarding the car's eligibility to be a Top Safety Pick.
The ForTwo, which is about three feet shorter and 700 pounds lighter than a Mini Cooper, earned the best possible rating of "Good" for front and side impact protection in tests by the IIHS, a private group funded by insurance companies.
The ForTwo received an "Acceptable" rating, which is the second best possible, for whiplash protection in rear impacts. Technically, that would prevent it from getting a "Top Safety Pick" from the IIHS.
The ForTwo is the smallest car the IIHS has ever tested. "All things being equal in safety, bigger and heavier is always better," said institute president Adrian Lund in an statement. "But among the smallest cars, the engineers at Smart did their homework and designed a high level of safety into a very small package."
The ForTwo, which the IIHS classifies as "microcar," has very little crush space in its short front end. The institute credits the car's seatbelts and airbags with helping minimize crash forces on the occupants. The crash test dummy's head hit the steering wheel through the airbag during the front crash test, but the impact wasn't hard enough to affect the final rating, said spokesman Rader.
"The IIHS frontal crash test is conducted at a higher speed than required by federal safety standards, and it's an offset test that replicates most real-world crashes. The smart's sophisticated safety management system performed as designed," said Smart's Schembri.
A different kind of test
The federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted different crash tests, whose results were released in April and showed some weak points.
In the NHTSA front crash test, the ForTwo earned the top rating of "Five Stars" for driver protection, but just "Three Stars" for passenger protection. Few vehicles today get ratings as low as three stars in NHTSA's front crash tests.
The IIHS uses a different type of front crash test and does not place a crash test dummy in the passenger seat. While NHTSA tests vehicles by crashing them straight into an immovable barrier, the institute crashes vehicles into a deformable barrier so that just part of the vehicle's front end strikes it.
Results from front impact crash tests, no matter how they are conducted, cannot be compared between cars of different sizes. In a real-world front crash, occupants in a smaller vehicle would experience greater crash forces when hitting a larger vehicle going in the opposite direction.
The Smart ForTwo earned the best possible ratings in side impact tests conducted by both NHTSA and IIHS, but in both cases, the door became unlatched during the crash tests. While that didn't affect the final score in either case, it's not ideal, said IIHS's Lund.
Smart is a product of Germany's Daimler (DAI) (DAI), which also makes Mercedes-Benz luxury cars.
http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/14/autos/smart_fortwo_iihs_crash_test/?postversion=2008051410





Still says to not send the featherweight against the heavyweight.
 

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How? I would like to take a Ford Expedition to the side of one of those and see what happens.. lol :D
 

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In my opinion this car is potentially very dangerous regardless of what the crash results say and the last few sentences of this article along with its not so good results in "whiplash" go along with what I have been saying all along.

When going head on into a larger car the forces will be greater and combine this with the stiff structure of the Smart you will have those forces transferred to the driver instead of the larger crumple zones we are use to seeing on most larger cars currently produced. These forces IMO will be similar to what Dale Earnhardt experienced when he died. When he hit the wall his head snapped forward so fiercely that it resulted in his death.
 

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In my opinion this car is potentially very dangerous regardless of what the crash results say and the last few sentences of this article along with its not so good results in "whiplash" go along with what I have been saying all along.

When going head on into a larger car the forces will be greater and combine this with the stiff structure of the Smart you will have those forces transferred to the driver instead of the larger crumple zones we are use to seeing on most larger cars currently produced. These forces IMO will be similar to what Dale Earnhardt experienced when he died. When he hit the wall his head snapped forward so fiercely that it resulted in his death.


They said that the damage to the dummy was not significant enough to even change the rating. While I'm more skeptical about these super compact vehicles after this report, do you have any evidence to backup your claim that a collision in a ForTwo (with seatbelts and airbags) would cause the same forces on a person's head and neck as a collision at 150 mph? Your example of Earnhardt is referencing a vehicle hitting an immovable object. To replicate these forces, the ForTwo and the opposing vehicle would have to be going around 75 mph each and the other vehicle would also have to have no crumple zones, both premises are highly improbable if not impossible. Also add in the additional weight on the head as a helmet and subtract the airbag, and the example seems even more preposterous.

I think this car will be great for commuting and city driving given the crash test results.
 

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In my opinion this car is potentially very dangerous regardless of what the crash results say and the last few sentences of this article along with its not so good results in "whiplash" go along with what I have been saying all along.

When going head on into a larger car the forces will be greater and combine this with the stiff structure of the Smart you will have those forces transferred to the driver instead of the larger crumple zones we are use to seeing on most larger cars currently produced. These forces IMO will be similar to what Dale Earnhardt experienced when he died. When he hit the wall his head snapped forward so fiercely that it resulted in his death.
A tablespoon of water is potentially very dangerous. A loaded handgun is potentially very dangerous. A menopausal woman is potentially dangerous.

People who buy this car know it isn't the safest thing on the planet, neither is a motorcycle, but like all of us, they take their chances every day they climb out of bed. Maybe if we didn't have a love affair with all things SUV/Full-size we wouldn't be wringing our hands about 24K smart fortwo's running rampant amongst the herd. Live a little, you can't go through life afraid of everything.
 

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They said that the damage to the dummy was not significant enough to even change the rating. While I'm more skeptical about these super compact vehicles after this report, do you have any evidence to backup your claim that a collision in a ForTwo (with seatbelts and airbags) would cause the same forces on a person's head and neck as a collision at 150 mph? Your example of Earnhardt is referencing a vehicle hitting an immovable object. To replicate these forces, the ForTwo and the opposing vehicle would have to be going around 75 mph each and the other vehicle would also have to have no crumple zones, both premises are highly improbable if not impossible. Also add in the additional weight on the head as a helmet and subtract the airbag, and the example seems even more preposterous.

I think this car will be great for commuting and city driving given the crash test results.
Thank you for that post.

And city driving is what it is intended for, with the occasional side trip down the Dangerous Death Track that is our Interstate system.
 

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They said that the damage to the dummy was not significant enough to even change the rating. While I'm more skeptical about these super compact vehicles after this report, do you have any evidence to backup your claim that a collision in a ForTwo (with seatbelts and airbags) would cause the same forces on a person's head and neck as a collision at 150 mph? Your example of Earnhardt is referencing a vehicle hitting an immovable object. To replicate these forces, the ForTwo and the opposing vehicle would have to be going around 75 mph each and the other vehicle would also have to have no crumple zones, both premises are highly improbable if not impossible. Also add in the additional weight on the head as a helmet and subtract the airbag, and the example seems even more preposterous.

I think this car will be great for commuting and city driving given the crash test results.
The article itself states that the smart would be subjected to greater forces going up against a larger vehicle in a head on crash. The IIHS also says the car is too small to be considered safe under all conditions, including highway, The article went on to say that "Smart" would not make a comment on the IIHS inability to recommend the car as a "Top Safety Pick". If the car is so safe then why isn't Smart making any statements to refute the IIHS statement?
 

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I don't know what to do in this Goldilocks society in which we live. One car is too large, the other too small. Perhaps I'll just walk or will that offend someone else's sense of worth, too?
 

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The article itself states that the smart would be subjected to greater forces going up against a larger vehicle in a head on crash. The IIHS also says the car is too small to be considered safe under all conditions, including highway, The article went on to say that "Smart" would not make a comment on the IIHS inability to recommend the car as a "Top Safety Pick". If the car is so safe then why isn't Smart making any statements to refute the IIHS statement?
Why would they refute it? And, just because they don't doesn't mean that it isn't safe. It's as safe as a car that size can be. That's it. No one claimed it'd wipe out an Excursion, what are you looking for? Why does this car incense people so much? You don't like, then don't buy one. There's that hypocrisy again; don't diss the choice of owning an SUV cuz it ain't your money, but damn anything small and fuel efficient as a deathtrap cuz that's okay. Freud would have a field day on this site.
 

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I want one........
 

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Why would they refute it? And, just because they don't doesn't mean that it isn't safe. It's as safe as a car that size can be. That's it. No one claimed it'd wipe out an Excursion, what are you looking for? Why does this car incense people so much? You don't like, then don't buy one. There's that hypocrisy again; don't diss the choice of owning an SUV cuz it ain't your money, but damn anything small and fuel efficient as a deathtrap cuz that's okay. Freud would have a field day on this site.
Wow...I thought the purpose of this forum was to give people a chance to voice their opinion. The car doesn't incense me as you say, but I do have an opinion. Why does my opinion incense you so negatively? Do you plan on buying one of these and hence view my opinion as an insult to your desire to own one? If so, I'm sorry to have offended your personal tastes in cars. I myself try to keep an open mind regarding peoples tastes in cars even if they don't match my own. Is the car fine for small city driving? I would probably say yeah, it would be fine in some small town in italy where it matches the size of the streets and other cars.

I have driven this vehicle myself and its a pretty cool little car, but I wouldn't feel safe drivng one on the streets of California.
 

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Wow...I thought the purpose of this forum was to give people a chance to voice their opinion. The car doesn't incense me as you say, but I do have an opinion. Why does my opinion incense you so negatively? Do you plan on buying one of these and hence view my opinion as an insult to your desire to own one? If so, I'm sorry to have offended your personal tastes in cars. I myself try to keep an open mind regarding peoples tastes in cars even if they don't match my own. Is the car fine for small city driving? I would probably say yeah, it would be fine in some small town in italy where it matches the size of the streets and other cars.

I have driven this vehicle myself and its a pretty cool little car, but I wouldn't feel safe drivng one on the streets of California.
No, I just took this as you were trying to imply that Smart was hiding something:

61BelAir said:
The article went on to say that "Smart" would not make a comment on the IIHS inability to recommend the car as a "Top Safety Pick". If the car is so safe then why isn't Smart making any statements to refute the IIHS statement?
Yeah, I read too much into it, sorry 'bout that. But yes, I intend to buy one.
 

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It doesn't seem too bad in the crash test actually. I was expecting worse, so that's great news. I wouldn't buy one because Houston is the land of highways. If one wants to get basically anywhere from where I live (south side of Houston) you HAVE to get on a highway. The inner city properties are either insanely expensive or on the verge of being a DMZ.
 

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Now if they could just do something about the warranty, the lack of any cargo or people carrying ability (I get its a city car! But it doesn't live up to expectations at its current size.), and the dismal fuel economy for its size I might be impressed. That and its overpriced for what you get, and there are too few dealers around. Buts its cute! Awwww.
 

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Live a little, you can't go through life afraid of everything.
I for one do. If I'm not guzzling gas in my Silverado, I'm sipping fuel on my crotch rocket. That's living life, not driving some slow & ugly car.
 

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Like he said, just because it gets a good crash test rating does NOT mean it's safe in comparison to larger, heavier vehicles. You can't be paranoid, but driving a car this small isn't smart. ;)
 

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A tablespoon of water is potentially very dangerous. A loaded handgun is potentially very dangerous. A menopausal woman is potentially dangerous.

People who buy this car know it isn't the safest thing on the planet, neither is a motorcycle, but like all of us, they take their chances every day they climb out of bed. Maybe if we didn't have a love affair with all things SUV/Full-size we wouldn't be wringing our hands about 24K smart fortwo's running rampant amongst the herd. Live a little, you can't go through life afraid of everything.
:) for the first paragraph. Re the second... of course they know but they will still want to sue over it.

The car can be very practical, I just don't necessarily see the US as the best market for this vehicle.
 

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this wasnt expected? of course the car is going to get a good rating, the car is being crashed into a wall, which means the only forces being applied to the car are those the car applies to the wall- which isnt very much. i want to see this thing go up against things bigger than it, no matter what it is. this car is designed to use the other cars crumple zones to its advantage. but the problem is when it hits something that doesnt have crumple zones, like anything BOF, you have two battering rams going into each other. and the whiplash is common sense to, the thing is so small that it gets bounced around by anything that hits it.

even if i lived in downtown nyc i would not get this car, its no more practical than an electric scooter- and that uses no gas.
 
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