IIHS Announces 2013 Top Safety Pick+ Award Winners for Small Car Class

By Trevor Dorchies | August 07, 2013
It's that time of the year again. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has begun announcing its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ award winners. In this installment, we have the Top Safety Pick + award winners in the small car class, with six vehicles laying claim to the title. For 2013, the Honda Civic coupe and sedan, Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, and Scion tC earned the title of 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick +. In all, every model except the Elantra and tC were from the 2013 model year. The Elantra and tC were 2014 model year offerings. For those who don't know, the IIHS began awarding Top Safety Pick + awards to vehicles of all shapes and sizes last year. The "+" indicates good or acceptable ratings earned during the small overlap test. The Top Safety Pick + award goes to vehicles with superior crash protection and winners must achieve a score of "good" in four of the five categories the IIHS tests. The vehicle must also earn a score no worse than "acceptable" in the fifth category. The IIHS rates vehicles on a scale of poor, marginal, acceptable, and good based on its performance in moderate overlap front crash, small overlap front crash, side impact, and rollover testing. Seat and head restraints simulate rear impact accidents and the results are taken into consideration when looking at which vehicle deserves the title of being named a Top Safety Pick +.
In all, the IIHS tested 12 different vehicles including the six mentioned above, but also included the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic, 2013 Chevrolet Cruze 2013 Volkswagen Beetle, 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Kia Soul, and 2014 Kia Forte. Toyota escaped testing of its Corolla for the 2013 model year as an all-new model is expected to surface later this year for 2014. Out of the 12 vehicles tested, the Sentra, Soul, and Forte earned an overall score of "poor," the Cruze, Sonic, and Beetle were marginal overall, and the Dart, Focus, Elantra, and tC were acceptable as a whole. Only the 2013 Honda Civic coupe and sedan earned an overall rating of good. According to the IIHS, the small car group fared worse than their midsize counterparts, but better overall than small SUVs.
“The small cars with marginal or poor ratings had some of the same structural and restraint system issues as other models we’ve tested,” David Zuby, chief research officer for the IIHS said in a statement. “In the worst cases safety cages collapsed, driver airbags moved sideways with unstable steering columns and the dummy’s head hit the instrument panel. Side curtain airbags didn’t deploy or didn’t provide enough forward coverage to make a difference. All of this adds up to marginal or poor protection in a small overlap crash.” More Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick + awards are expected to begin trickling in for the latest variation of vehicles on the road today soon. As soon as we hear more, we'll pass it along to you, so stay tuned. Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety