POSTED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 10:28am
UPDATED: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 3:24am
New crash tests show major improvements in crash safety.
There's even better news for those of you who drive small cars to save gas and money.
Now they're safer than ever before.
13 of the smallest and most fuel efficient cars in the country were put through the rigors of every type crash test the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety could throw at them.
All passed...a far cry from the results of just a few years ago when safety standards were actually lower.
"The criteria in 2006 were not as strong as they are today. We've added things because vehicle safety has improved, and there were only three small cars on the Top Safety Pick list in 2006," says the institute's David Zuby.
Nearly half the field earned the institute's top safety pick designation this time.
Among them were the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus CT Hybrid, Nissan Juke and Toyota Prius.
Safety features like side airbags and electronic stability control are now standard equipment, but they're still small cars.
"You can't engineer away the law of physics," Zuby points out, "so, if you're concerned about crash worthiness, a larger, bigger car, a larger, heavier car is a better choice"
The test results are obviously comforting to manufacturers who say it's always their intent to build cars with both technology and safety in mind.