In a new round of testing the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Ford Focus and Volvo C30 emerged as the overall crash safety leaders in a field of five small/midsize coupe/hatchback models. The compact Focus and midsize C30 were the only two vehicles to earn "good" marks in all three of the IIHS's rigorous crash tests that measure a car's ability to protect passengers in the event of a front, side or rear impact. Their stellar performances earned both vehicles an IIHS "Best Buy" accolade. The three other vehicles evaluated in this mix were the Chevrolet Cobalt, Honda Civic and Scion tC.
David Zuby, IIHS senior vice president for vehicle research, characterized the overall results as encouraging, noting that four of the five earned "good" ratings in the 40-mph frontal offset impact test and the Scion tC netted an "acceptable" mark. The Civic, Cobalt and tC all earned "acceptable" ratings in the IIHS's grueling side-impact smackdowns, as well. This consists of having the vehicle hit by a barrier moving at 31 mph, an event which the IIHS likens to getting T-boned by a pickup or SUV. In this test, the Cobalt's score only applies to vehicles built after May 2009 when GM modified the design of its side-curtain airbag. All but the tC earned "good" rear crash ratings, which are determined by taking into account the potential for passengers to suffer head/neck injuries in the event of a 20-mph impact.