IIHS Small Car Test: Three Gruesome Slow-Motion Crash Videos

This morning's IIHS report on the shocking finding that little cars don't take well to colliding, at speed, with bigger cars? Now we have the crash videos. Let's take a look at all three below.

The three tests we have are between the Honda Accord and the Honda Fit, the Toyota Camry and Toyota Yaris, and finally the Mercedes C300 and the Smart ForTwo. With each we get a full speed offset frontal crash with both cars traveling at 40 MPH, destruction and carnage ensue and rightly so, there's a lot of energy involved here. These are hardly scientific tests, and they represent the absolute most extreme crash scenario for these speeds, especially for the smaller cars. Ratings got from "Good" at the top of the scale through "Acceptable" and "Poor." Considering this is one car bashing into another, the evaluation is somewhat subjective, but it gives an idea of relative performance. Let's take a closer look at each.


Smart ForTwo Versus Mercedes C300

The Smart ForTwo is the poster child for Micro-Machine scale automobiles. With a tiny, tiny footprint and virtually zero front overhang, the 1808 lb ForTwo relies on a super-strong safety cage and airbags for protection. It's cold comfort against the much bigger Mercedes-Benz C300, tipping the scales at 3,560 lbs. Considering the circumstances, the little Smart held up pretty well, even though it bounced off the Benz like a pinball. The Benz scores a Good while the Smart gets a Poor, which is pretty harsh under these conditions. We like watching the three-pointed star float past the Smart in the slo-mo.

Honda Fit Versus Honda Accord

The Fit is one of our favorite little cars, with the new design maintaining the fun character of the original while giving it a little more room inside. The Fit uses traditional crumple zones for crash force dissipation but with such short overhangs there's not much room to slow absorb energy in a collision. When Accord meets Fit, we get an seriously mangled mess with the Fit. There's significant damage to the safety cage with the A-pillar crumpling and the wheel well smooshing up into the footwell. However, the front and side airbags kept the driver's head from bashing into hard parts. The 2489 lb Fit scored a Poor while the 3297 lb Accord was Good.


Toyota Yaris Versus Toyota Camry

The Yaris scores a Poor and the Camry gets an Acceptable, but this one seems like it needs another level of bad. In this crash the Yaris crumples up into a pretzel, with the A-pillar severely kinking, the wheel occupying the space where the driver's feet used to be and the door flying open. Yikes. The 2288 lbs Yaris is 200 lbs lighter than the Fit and the Camry is only 30 lbs less than the Accord, but the results seem more out of proportion than the differences in heft.

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>rant on

I have always hated the ninnies at the IIHS.

Remember folks that they are owned and beholden to the insurance companies and don't care about mpg or areodynamics or good automotive design. All they care about is reducing the claims that the insurance companies have to pay. If human safey is an added benefit then that is a good thing but that is not their ultimate goal. These are the same nimrods who would love to bring back the aluminum beam, shock absorbed 5mph bumpers- think Dodge/Plymouth Omni or 1st Gen VW Rabbit.

These are the characters who helped the insurance industry to use the "save the children and adults" arguement to get seat belt laws enacted to save them boat loads of money in claims. But did our stupid government make them reduce premiums after adopting the seat belt laws? Never happened.

I will always remember that the early airbag equipped cars (1980's) cost more to insure than the same model without airbags due to the cost of the airbags. How good was that for encouraging safety?

Shame on the insurance companies and their supposed "safety" organization the IIHS...

>rant off