Based on its latest round of comprehensive crash test results, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded the 2012 Fiat 500 a "Top Safety Pick" for 2011. Earning that accolade requires that a vehicle received "good" marks in front, side and rear impacts as well as passenger survivability in the case of a rollover incident. To snare this particular honor, a given test car must also pass muster with IIHS standards regarding seat and head restraints and come with standard electronic stability control (ESC).
Its diminutive size notwithstanding, the 2012 Fiat 500 boasts a formidable safety suite, including seven standard airbags, reactive head restraints to minimize the potential for whiplash injuries and high-strength steel door beams that help protect against side-impact intrusions. The IIHS Top Safety Pick Award specifically applies to Fiat 500 models that were built after August 1, 2011 when the front-seat structure was modified to improve its ability to protect occupants in both front- and rear-end collisions. So far this year, the only other minicar to earn the highest IIHS rating has been the 2011 Ford Fiesta.