December 12, 2017

Safety Issues Surround the new Smart Fortwo Mini-Car

Friday, April 4th, 2008 9:36 pm

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There has been a great deal of excitement and talk surrounding the new Smart Fortwo vehicle, which is a two-seat minicar that measures only 8 feet, 10 inches in length.  The car is so tiny that up to three of them can fit in just one parking space, but the fuel economy offered by the car is one of the biggest reasons for the attention this car has gained.  According to testing, the car receives 60 mpg on the highway and 50 mpg in the city when fueled with gasoline and receives 83 mpg on the highway and 69 mpg in the city. 

Despite the great fuel economy, many people in the United States are not quite so impressed by the tiny car.  Historically, smaller vehicles have had lower safety ratings when compared to larger vehicles – and, it seems the Smart Fortwo is no exception.

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The 2008 crash-test scores are in for the Smart Fortwto, and the new car has received one of the lowest scores of all 2008 vehicles.  The vehicle, which was developed by Daimler AG in Europe, did receive a score of four out of five scars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations when it came to head-on collisions.  When it came to passenger protection, however, the car only received a score of three out of five stars.  Statistically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration computes that this rating puts passengers at a 21% to 35% chance of facing serious injury during an accident.  Only one other vehicle, the BMW 5-Series, received less than four stars when it came to front collision testing.

The Smart Fortwo did receive a five star rating for side-impact crashes, but it still faced some problems in this scenario. Namely, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that the doors of the vehicle popped open during the testing.  As such, the driver and passenger are more likely to be ejected from the vehicle if an accident were to occur.  While this was not the only vehicle to experience this problem, it is still an issue of concern to consider when purchasing and driving this new vehicle.

In reality, it is somewhat difficult to directly compare the Smart Fortwo to other vehicles on the road because there are no other vehicles of the same size and weight.  At the same time, it should be noted that the vehicle was designed primarily with the European market in mind, where smaller vehicles are more common than in the United States.  Therefore, the safety issues of the vehicle may not be as much of a concern in Europe as they are in the United States.

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