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2014 Chevy Spark sole minicar to earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating

By Bob Nagy on January 24, 2014 4:20 PM
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Originally tested back in December, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark remains the only subcompact of the 11 now evaluated to earn a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the IIHS, the modest physical size and weight of vehicles in this group makes all of them less able to successfully withstand high-intensity impacts - and in this case, those of the organization's grueling front small-overlap crash test - than most of their slightly larger subcompact siblings. In the end, subcompacts turned in the worst collective results of any segment assessed to date by the IIHS. 

Also: 2014 Compact Cars at a glance

The Spark's lone TSP plaudit came largely on the strength of earning an "acceptable" mark in the IIHS's make-or-break small-overlap beatdown that sends a vehicle hurtling into a fixed barrier at 40 mph with just a 25-percent offset. The other 10 cars received either "marginal" or "poor" grades in the test. However, like the Spark, several did get a moderate rating for overall structure but still received top "good" marks in the front moderate-overlap (40-percent offset), side, roof strength and head restraints & seats categories. Those with marginal front small-overlap ratings but good grades in all other areas included the 2014 Ford Fiesta Sedan and Hatchback (built after August 2013) and the 2014 Toyota Yaris Hatch. Two more, the 2014 Kia Rio and 2014 Mazda Mazda2 were marginal in the small-overlap test but only earned an acceptable mark in one or more of the other scoring categories. 

2014 Compact SUVs at a glance 

The remainder of the group, the 2014 Fiat 500, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa Sedan and Toyota Prius C all received poor overall small-overlap ratings. Although the Fiat 500 and Honda Fit did earn good scores in the general crashworthiness portion of the IIHS testing, they turned in the worst performances in the small-overlap arena. The IIHS noted that each allowed structural intrusion that "severely compromised the driver's space." 

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