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IIHS Crashes Small Cars

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This round of tests, there are no new Top Safety Picks ("good" front, side, and head restraint performance, plus ESC availability). All cars had good frontal crash performance, while side crash performance varied, usually depending on the vehicle's age. Side performance...

Suzuki SX4 - Good

Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe - Good

MINI Cooper - Acceptable

Chevrolet HHR - Acceptable

Ford Focus - Acceptable

Saturn ASTRA - Marginal

Hyundai Elantra - Marginal

Chrysler PT Cruiser - Poor

Most of the cars had "acceptable" structures but were let down by high torso injury measurements - front passenger torsos for the HHR (marginal) and Elantra (poor), rear passenger torsos for the MINI (marginal) and ASTRA (poor).

The Focus had low injury measurements all around, but it had a weak structure - marginal, an improvement over the old model's "poor". The increased ride height probably helped as well.

Here are the IIHS Top Safety Picks (previously tested)...

Honda Civic w/ ESC

Honda Fit w/ ESC

Mitsubishi Lancer w/ ESC

Scion xB

Subaru Impreza

Toyota Corolla w/ ESC

Volkswagen Rabbit


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yet if you check out the NCAP scores for the astra its like one of the top compacts in europe......



The Astra is a very strongly scoring car, with a body that is extremely stable and provides good protection for occupants. Only two points were lost in the frontal impact and the side impact performance was impressive, too, and no points were lost. Protection for child occupants was also good and the child restraints meet almost all Euro NCAP performance limits. The three year old child restraint used ISOFix anchorages while the younger child’s used the adult belts to fasten the restraint to the car. Pedestrian protection was poor.

Front impact

The restraint system for the driver and passenger incorporated single stage tethered airbags, belt pre-tensioners and load limiters. These worked well, although loads on the driver’s chest were on the high side. The brake and clutch pedals are designed to break away, so reducing the risk of injury to the driver’s legs. Deformation at fascia level and intrusion into the footwell were minimal. There has been much design effort to increase protection for the driver’s knees and upper legs.

Side impact

A very impressive side impact protection system that includes seat mounted thorax and pelvis side airbags. The Astra also has a head curtain airbag fitted as standard to protect those seated in the front and in the rear.


The 3 year old used an Opel branded forward facing Britax Romer Duo Plus restraint while the younger child used a Opel branded rear facing Baby-Safe restraint. The children’s heads were fully protected in side and frontal impact but the neck load on the younger child and the chest load on the older child were on the high side. There was only a non-permanent pictogram on the passenger’s end of the fascia. It did not warn against placing a child in a rear- facing restraint opposite a passenger frontal airbag.

Pedestrian protection

Only two small areas of the bonnet top offered protection. But its leading edge and the car’s bumper proved to be very unfriendly. This was a disappointing result for a new design, and Euro NCAP urges Opel to take this vital safety area more seriously.

Edited by regfootball

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