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Volvo C30, Ford Focus fare well in insurance-group crash tests

Tue, 21 Jul 2009

Four two-door cars received the highest safety rating in frontal crashes and two received that rating for side collisions in recent testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The institute gave its "good" rating in side crashes to the Volvo C30 and two-door Ford Focus.

Those vehicles, along with the two-door Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cobalt, also received "good" ratings for frontal collisions, the non-profit group funded by auto insurers said. The C30 and two-door Ford Focus received "top safety pick 2009" designations from the Insurance Institute.

"The safety improvements we've seen for four-door vehicles generally appear to be carrying over to two-doors," said David Zuby, the group's senior vice president for vehicle research, in a statement.

The two-door Civic rated one step lower in side crashes than the previously tested four-door version, but the two-door Focus beat its previously analyzed four-door model in that category. The two-door Chevy Cobalt tied its four-door version.

The group also tested the Scion tC. It earned the second-highest safety rating, "acceptable," for both crashes. The two-door Civic and Cobalt had "acceptable" ratings for the side collision tests.

"This is pretty good, considering how demanding the side test is," Zuby said. "It simulates being struck by a pickup or SUV."

In the side test, a barrier moving at 31 mph hits the vehicles. The frontal trials simulate 40 mph offset crashes.

All the two-door cars except the tC received "good" ratings for rear-ender crashes. The tC received a "marginal" rating. That test analyzes the head restraint's height and distance to the back of an average man's head. Vehicles with "good" or "acceptable" head restraints go through a trial that mimics a stationary vehicle's being rear-ended by a vehicle going 20 mph.

In April, the insurance group said the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Smart ForTwo minicars performed poorly in frontal crash tests with mid-sized vehicles. Upon impact, the three cars all collapsed into the space around the driver dummy.

By Chrissie Thompson- Automotive News