IIHS Small Car Crash Testing, Awesome Slow Motion Test Crashes, Poor Results for Many

Here’s the thing,

Safety in a car is a pretty important thing for a lot of people, and it’s so important that the Government mandates a lot of specific types of crash tests for cars. The one in particular for today, that IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), the small overlap crash test, it was introduced in 2012 to help make vehicles safer. Pretty much what it is, is imagine hitting something like a concrete road barrier with just the left side of your vehicle, that in essence, is the small overlap test. It’s pretty tough to pass as well, as shown in this video by the IIHS.

The original report by the IIHS can be read here, and the video they made is embedded above. I’ll give you the cliff notes of the results:


Only one car got a good rating, and that would be the MINI Cooper Countryman, which also qualified for Top Safety Pick.

“The Mini Cooper Countryman gave a solid performance,” says Joe Nolan, the Institute’s senior vice president for vehicle research. “The Countryman’s safety cage held up reasonably well. The safety belts and airbags worked together to control the test dummy’s movement, and injury measures indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a real-world crash this severe.”



  • Scion xB – It’s worth mentioning the xB received a  “Good” rating in all other tests, so this may just be due to  getting used to the test.
  • Hyundai Veloster


  • Fiat 500L – In the Fiat 500L, the structure of the vehicle was compromised, which caused the steering wheel to go off to the right, which made the dummy’s head slide to the left off of the airbag, and come into contact with the A pillar. Results indicated serious injury to the left hip, and injury to both legs would be likely.
  • Nissan Juke
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Mazda 5 – The Mazda 5, to put it bluntly, did terrible. It shares the award with 2 fellow cars for the worst performing cars in this test. The others were the 2014 Kia Forte, and 2012 Toyota Prius-v.  With the Mazda 5, parts of the interior of the vehicle started buckling, and allowed in far too much intrusion, the short version of what happened – The steering wheel went off to the right, taking the air bag with it, and the belt allowed the occupant to slide too far forward, allowing the occupants head to come into contact with the dash. The side curtain airbag didn’t deploy, and the door became unlatched during the crash, which increases likelihood of being ejected from the car. It’s worth noting as well that the Mazda 5 also only received a “Marginal” grade on the side crash test.

With each vehicle I linked them to their individual IIHS crash results, so if you are inclined to check out what a car got all over, take a look.

And that, that’s the thing about car safety.