As fuel prices climb, many U.S. drivers are looking to buy smaller cars, many of which get better gas mileage than their larger counterparts. Smaller cars can seem riskier to drive, since their small size and light weight makes them and their occupants more likely to suffer damage and auto accident injuries in a crash. However, many small cars are rated at the top of the list for passenger safety, according to the U.S. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
The IIHS’s Top Safety Picks for 2012 include several compact or sub-compact models made by both U.S. and foreign manufacturers. Top-rated small cars in safety include: Chevrolet’s Cruze and Sonic; the Fiat 500; Ford’s Fiesta and Focus; Honda’s Insight, Fit, and Civic; and Toyota’s Corolla and Yaris models.
The IIHS’s overall safety ratings are based on measurements in a number of categories, according to the Institute. These include front-impact, side-impact, rear-impact, and rollover crashes. To make it to the top of the list, vehicles must rate a “good” in all four crash categories – the highest of the four ratings IIHS gives.