Honda Civic IIHS crash test - 1

The Honda Civic has taken the top two spots in the latest round of the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) small overlap front crash tests involving small cars.

Covering 12 of the North American market’s best-selling small cars, the crash tests resulted in half earning a ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ rating, qualifying them for the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

The highest ‘good’ rating went to the two- and four-door Honda Civic – the only small cars to earn the Institute’s top rating.

Honda Civic IIHS crash test - 2

The Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and 2014 Scion tC were the next best, earning ‘acceptable’ ratings.

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.

Kia Forte IIHS crash test - 1

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.

In May, the Subaru Forester became the first vehicle to score top marks in the Institute’s unique test, though the IIHS has also evaluated midsize luxury cars, midsize cars and small SUVs. Results for mini cars are to be released later this year.

Small car small overlap front crash test results:

  • Honda Civic (four-door): Good
  • Honda Civic (two-door): Good
  • Dodge Dart: Acceptable
  • Ford Focus: Acceptable
  • Hyundai Elantra: Acceptable
  • Scion tC (2014): Acceptable
  • Chevrolet Sonic: Marginal
  • Volkswagen Beetle: Marginal
  • Chevrolet Cruze: Marginal
  • Nissan Sentra: Poor
  • Kia Soul: Poor
  • Kia Forte (2014): Poor

  • davie

    Glad they showed the second photo which clarifies the first one. Otherwise it looked like the civic just squashed into a solid wall!

  • Ethansilk

    How does this translate to the Thai built Civics? Would it be comparable considering it’s right hand drive for us? Curious as I’m looking to upgrade my Civic.

  • guest

    Great that they are really pushing the envelope

  • F1orce

    ANCAP needs more rigorous crash tests, instead of just awarding stars for having seat belt reminders..

  • Captain Obvious

    Once again I am surprised that very similar cars under the skin such as the Elantra and Cerato have such wildly different results. It is a pity that the money just isn’t there for ANCAP to undertake similarly rigorous tests. It’s good to see the bar being raised – this test is significantly influencing my new car purchasing decision.

    • LeStori

      Well if that is the case, do not buy a small car to start with as they are nearly always going to come out worst when they hit a larger vehicle or a stationary object.
      So go for the largest vehicle with the highest safety rating you can afford .

  • Poison_Eagle

    How fast is that? Looks like more punishment than ANCAP.

    • mbx boy

      40 mph (approx 64km/h), which is the same speed at which ANCAP frontal offset crash test is conducted. The difference here is the area of impact, which is significantly reduced in small overlap crash test, hence increasing the force during impact.

  • arj

    I don’t know why Australians reluctant to buy Honda vehicles

    • Vti07

      The US has more model variety, eg. Civic sedan and coupe, Accord sedan and coupe, Ridgeline, Pilot etc and more engine and interior choices and often superior equipment levels. Plus they have Acura as well. The Australian range as is, is not very interesting compared to the US but it should eventually get better when cars such as the Urban mini SUV and updated Civic type R is introduced.

      • Jacky

        The new Odyssey will probably a treat too (as far as people movers go), going by the Jade concept.

    • Matt

      They don’t have a lot to offer Australia…. poor design, lack of choice and no technological innovation, so people have looked elsewhere and continue to do so as well.

  • Bongo bongo land

    cheap steel in Korean made cars

    • Elantra

      Hyundai uses Australian steel. Does that mean our steel is cheap?

      • Sumpguard

        Don’t feed the uneducated troll please.

      • Cheap Kiundai

        Cheap Aussie steel used in Korean made cars, just look at the results, they speak for themselves.

    • Brayden Cresswell

      Biggest troll considering our iron ore is the most purist in the world.

  • Chaitanya Kumar Samardhi

    So experience speaks for itself. A tried and tested product is safe and reliable over the long run. A very good overall package the civic is. If Honda offered the diesel in the sedan and an automatic with a capped price servicing, sales may double.