The Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Beetle and Chevrolet Cruze all earned a ‘marginal’ overall rating, with the Nissan Sentra and Kia Soul registering ratings of ‘poor’.
The 2014 Kia Forte (Kia Cerato) was the worst performer overall, receiving ‘poor’ ratings for restraints and kinematics as well as structure.
The Institute says it did not test the Corolla because Toyota plans to release a redesigned 2014 model in August.
According to a release from the IIHS, “The latest results highlight how some automakers are designing models to perform well in the demanding small overlap test. At the same time, other automakers have more work to do.”
IIHS chief research officer David Zuby said manufacturers needed to focus on the whole safety package, including strong occupant compartments that resist frontal crash intrusion, seatbelts that prevent drivers pitching forward and curtain airbags that cushion the head from dashboards or window frames.
“In the worst cases safety cages collapsed, driver airbags moved sideways with unstable steering columns and the dummy’s head hit the instrument panel. Side curtain airbags didn’t deploy or didn’t provide enough forward coverage to make a difference,” Zuby said.
“All of this adds up to marginal or poor protection in a small overlap crash.”
The Institute added the small overlap front test to its line-up of vehicle evaluations last year, replicating what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a telephone pole. In the test, 25 per cent of the vehicle’s front end on the driver’s side strikes a barrier at 64km/h.