Small cars are becoming much safer, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The agency released their latest crash-test results and ratings report, in which small vehicles traditionally ranked very low. Automakers seem to have taken these low ratings to heart, as this year’s report shows their vehicles at an all time high. Interestingly enough, the report also shows that alternative fuel vehicles, such as those powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, were remarkably safe.
The IIHS surveyed 13 small cars altogether. Six of these achieved the Institute’s top rating in all categories, earning them the Top Safety Pick award. The cars that performed the best: Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic HF, Hyundai Elantra, Golf TDI and Fiesta SFE. Of the renewable fuel cars tested, the Toyota Prius and Lexus CT 200h performed the best. Both models received a “Good” rating for frontal and side impact tests.
Small vehicles had performed poorly in previous tests. When the cars were first tested in 2005, 14 of the 16 models available for testing received a “Poor” rating overall. This year’s results mark the first time that these diminutive vehicles have received a “Good” rating across the board.
With small cars becoming safer, insurance coverage for them is expected to decline to some degree. The Institute’s reports often have an impact on the industry with more dangerous vehicles being more expensive to protect. It is, however, not the only factor that contributes to the cost of insurance.