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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

US Fiat 500 Earns Top Safety Scores

Fiat 500 US crash test

The 2012 Fiat 500 has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick rating. The Fiat 500's performance in front, side, rollover, and rear tests was rated as good, the highest score.

In the roll over test, the Fiat 500 scored the best in its class. The roof on the Fiat 500 can withstand 6 times its own weight in the test which is nearly twice the amount as a MINI can withstand.

Offset front impact at 40 MPH
Overall evaluation: Good*

The dummy's arm broke the interior door handle, and an access hole for a bolt at the elbow engaged and activated the door latch

Here are some observations from the IIHS:

Restraints/dummy kinematics — Dummy movement appeared to be well controlled even though the driver door opened. The driver side curtain and side torso airbags deployed during the crash. During rebound, the dummy's head contacted the side curtain airbag.

Injury measures — Measures taken from the neck and chest indicate low risk of injuries to these body regions in a crash of this severity. Forces on the head when the dummy hit the steering wheel through the frontal airbag indicate that head injuries would be possible. Forces on the right foot indicate that foot injuries would also be possible.

*The good rating applies to cars built after July 2011. The Fiat 500 was tested twice. The first test indicated a cross tube in the driver's seat could possibly pull out, shift the seat and lessen the effectiveness of the airbag. Chrysler/Fiat modified the seat structure to improve the performance in cars manufactured after July 2011.

Below is the video of the first test:

Side impact test
Overall evaluation: Good

2012 Fiat 500 with standard side airbags 31 mph side impact test

IIHS observations:

Injury measures:
Driver — Measures taken from the dummy indicate that a fracture of the pelvis would be possible in a crash of this severity.

Rear passenger — Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.

Head protection:
Driver — The dummy’s head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof.

Rear passenger — The dummy’s head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof.

First US Fiat 500 crash test

Overall evaluation: Good

To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes.

Vehicles only need a strength-to-weight ratio of 1.5 to meet the federal regulation. The Fiat 500 roof can withstand 6 times its weight.

Car Rating Peak force (lbs) Strength-to-weight ratio
Fiat 500
20012 models
Good 15,221 6.16
Ford Fiesta sedan
2011-12 models
Good 14,122 5.42
Hyundai Accent
2012 models
Good 13,172 5.22
Ford Fiesta hatchback
2011-12 models
Good 13,142 5.05
Mazda 2
2011 models
Good 9,701 4.18
Toyota Yaris
2007-11 models
Acceptable 9,072 3.78
Hyundai Accent
Kia Rio
2006-11 models
Acceptable 9,526 3.72
MINI Cooper
2007-11 models
Acceptable 8,810 3.44
Honda Fit
2009-11 models
Acceptable 8,787 3042
Chevrolet Aveo
2009-11 models
Marginal 7,935 3.09


Anonymous said...

This is really good news on the crash safety of these little cars.

Interesting on the retest, the driver's door opened after impact but the dummy still came out very well indeed.

TK said...

I wonder that since FIAT redesigned the seats, if they will take any corrective action for cars built prior to July. I've had issues with the seat sliders and the dealer has no idea what to do.

Anonymous said...

I would think that FIAT wants to be on good therms, good ratings, ESPECIALLY with those of us that purchased their 500 pre-July 2011, with TRUST and FAITH in FIAT. They ought to correct our seats if they are really serious about their come-back in the US.

Spektor said...

Yes -- this is a significant concern. Does any dealer have any info yet on a service bulletin being issued for repair or replacement of the seats/tracks? Obviously FIAT determined there was a flaw because there was a redesign starting in August 2011. So what will be offered for owners of the older vehicles?