The Highway Loss Data Institute released its list of the best and worst performance for collision loss for 2014-16 model year vehicles and found that the Smart ForTwo electric had the lowest loss experience. The performance is measured by the frequency of claims and the amount paid out on claims. The HLDI is a unit of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In its studies, the institute controls for factors such as age of the driver and gender, while collision losses also are adjusted for deductibles. The ForTwo’s overall losses were 58 percent lower than other vehicles and averaged $162 per insured vehicle year.

While the diminutive EV scored best, next on the list was a vehicle at the other end of the spectrum, the Ram 1500 long-wheelbase 4-wheel drive pickup. Overall losses averaged $185, followed by another 4WD pickup, the Ford F-250 at $187. The Kia Soul EV finished fourth best at $189, following by the high-performance Chevrolet Corvette Z06 convertible at $204.

Luxury vehicles losses higher

Luxury vehicles, not surprisingly, were atop the list with the highest overall losses with the two-door Bentley Continental GT 4-wheel drive model ranking first. Its overall collision losses averaged $2,536, or 6.5 times higher than the $390 average of all vehicles. In fact, the top three on the loss list were from the British luxury brand. Second highest is the 4-door Bentley Continental Flying Spur at $2,338 followed by the Bentley Continental GTC convertible at $1,923. Rounding out the top five are the 2-door BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car at $1,657 and the 2-door Maserati GranTurismo sport coupe at $1,597.

Overall, the Highway Loss Data Institute found luxury cars had higher than average collision claim costs, while pickup trucks and SUVs had lower than average claim costs.

The institute also ranked overall collision losses among cars priced under $30,000. It found the ForTwo at No. 1, followed by the 2-door Jeep Wrangler with an average overall loss of $205; Subaru Outback station wagon at $222; GMC Canyon extended cab midsize pickup at $223 and Ram 1500 pickup at $236.

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Small and midsize cars had the highest collision overall losses in the sub-$30,000 price group. A 2-door Hyundai Genesis had the highest overall losses at $769. It was followed by the Scion FR-S at $753; Ford Mustang at $686; Chevrolet Camaro at $659 and the Subaru BRZ at $656.

The institute also reviewed personal injury protection claims and the results are a bit different. Minicars and small cars had the highest frequency of claims, reporting occupant injuries, while large pickups have the lowest.

The Mitsubishi Lancer sedan had the highest frequency of claims among 2014-16 model vehicles at 36 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years. That was about double the industry average. The Scion iA minicar was next highest at 32 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years, followed by the Nissan Versa, Kia Rio and Chevrolet Sonic.

Performance cars score well

In assessing the frequency of personal injury claims, performance cars seemed to do well. The Porsche 911 Carrera had the lowest frequency of personal injury protection claims among vehicles studied at 4.4 claims per 1,000 insured years. It was followed by the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz E-Class station wagon and Mercedes-Benz SL-Class convertible.

The institute says injury claims are affected by factors such as how often a vehicle is driven and on what type of roads. It warns that a vehicle with a low injury claim rate isn’t necessarily the safest vehicle and suggests car buyers may want to check insurance collision claims data when considering buying a vehicle so they get a picture of how expensive it would be to repair a vehicle.

"Whenever consumers are on the hunt for a new vehicle they should consult two key resources: safety ratings from IIHS and insurance loss results from HLDI," Matt Moore, HLDI’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “Combined, they give a good picture of a vehicle’s overall safety and insurance costs.”

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