Smart Car Crash Tested

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

YouTube has carried some hilarious footage of smart fourtwo crash tests (including hitting a concrete wall at 70mph) for a while now. Well, the NHTSA has finally crashed a few smarts in the name of [s]insurance ratings[/s] safety and the verdict is in: the smart is safer than you might think. The diminutive German car gets four stars for driver safety and three stars for the passenger in the frontal crash test. Side impact testing revealed five-star performance, although a door did open during the test, "increasing the likelihood of passenger ejection." Granted, "starflation" has been an issue for the NHTSA, but like an underachieving politician, the smart is simply playing the expectations game. The fact that the tiny ride didn't explode into a million pieces of wound-irritating fiberglass is probably enough to surprise the average American consumer, who likely sees the smart as a small step up from a Segway scooter in terms of safety. Bring on the Hummer side impact test!

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  • Kevinb120 Kevinb120 on Apr 08, 2008

    Oddly enough, There is one on our lot now parked right next to an F250, who's bumpers are higher then the tops of the tires on the smart. In a collision the energy of the truck's impact wouldn't even start to dissipate before its already in the cabin. I'll pass on these.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Apr 08, 2008

    Still I'd feel safer in a SmartCar than I would on my motorcycle in city traffic. Too many cellphone talking, distracted drivers to notice me. Been there, done that. If I get hit it is likely going to less damage to me in a SmartCar than riding my Honda. True my Honda MIGHT give me enough power to get out of the way or maybe I'll lay it down trying to stop or turn with short notice. The SmartCar is an excellent city car. Places like NYC where a person is in slow traffic for the majority of your trip is a good application of the Smart. Around here (TN cities) I spend 5 mins in slow downtown traffic and then I'm on some bypass or loop interstate that gets me to the other side of the city. The amount of time in the Smart would never be a problem. My trips are time-wise short enough that anything with a/c would be plenty comfortable from a 20 year old Datsun up to a BMW or Caddy. Its that high speed "mixing with big traffic" where everybody is running along at close quarters and 75 mph and then somebody does something stupid and everybody has to slam on the brakes. Will the big service truck behind me stop in time? Will the over-done lady in the Escalade yammering away on her cellphone look out her passenger window and see me? Will the 60,000 pound semi-truck hauling steel that I would prefer was hauled on a train instead even notice if he hits me? Going slower than the rest of the traffic helps to a point. Everybody has to go around me b/c I am running the speed limit certainly makes them aware of me. Going TOO slow makes the road dangerous for all of us as everyone is switching lanes and jockeying around me. Rolling-roadblocks come to mind. I LOVE small cars. I wish the whole country were driving small cars too but they aren't. We're not ONLY in the city around here and unfortunately our interstates are occupied by huge trucks and huge SUVs and everybody seems to have a phone call in progress all the time. Fortunately I don't have to leave my small town between the TN cities often and here a Smart would be excellent. Low speeds, urban traffic and not much highway time ever. Of course the short distances make most anything affordable MPG-wise.

  • Kevinb120 Kevinb120 on Apr 08, 2008

    Heh, I got a ride in the one in the lot, didn't realize it was one of our vendors that owned it. Honestly, after riding in traffic for years, I'd feel safer on the bike.