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Nissan Leaf: A+
The Leaf recently went through the ultimate test in quality control when it came to its batteries: getting slammed by the Japanese tsunami.
Although the two dozen Leafs that were submerged weren’t exactly ding- or dent-free, but as Nissan engineers pointed out, the batteries were completely undamaged.
Nissan sheathes Leaf batteries in airtight, solid steel compartments, with two other layers of protection. So their batteries are excellent, but what about crash testing results?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Leaf pulls a “good” which is the highest rating given, on front and side impact, and roof strength.
Due to this very high rating, the Leaf is considered a top safety pick.
The Leaf hasn’t been issued a rating by the federal government yet, but it will likely gain four and five stars left and right.
Toyota Prius: A
To give you an idea of how durable the Prius can be in a crash, we only need to point out the recent $4 million crash of exotic supercars.
Amid the destroyed Ferraris and Lamborghinis, you might have noticed that the only car to roll away from that massive mess was a bright red Prius.
The Prius is acclaimed for its fuel efficiency as well as for its safety.
In government tests, it gets a five-star overall rating, and the IIHS gives models with side airbags their top ratings.
However, 2004 to 2006 models had side airbags as an option rather than the standard. Those year models are considered “poor” for side impact by the IIHS. The Prius also was involved in Toyota’s “sticking accelerator” debacle.
So, if you’re looking for a used Prius, check the model carefully and consider buying only 2007 or later.
Honda Insight: B+
The Honda Insight is cheap and saves you a lot of money. But how does the Insight measure up in terms of safety?
Well, the Insight is a good car for safety but not great. It’s the first car on our list to get only an “acceptable” for roof strength, although the newest 2012 models do fix this problem.
Meanwhile, the government found that while it’s a four-star winner when it comes to driver safety, it only gets four stars when it comes to passenger safety.
That said, the Insight is by no means a dangerous or unsafe car. In fact, it’s safer than a lot of gas guzzlers currently on the road.
Therefore, if you’re looking to save money without skimping on safety, a new Insight could be a good choice.
Ford Fusion: B
The Fusion itself is really a story of improvement. 2006 models started out only getting “acceptable” or “Ppor” ratings from the IIHS.
But as of 2011, everything is rated as good, meaning Ford has substantially improved the Fusion’s safety.
The government, however, is not quite so forgiving as the IIHS.
The Ford Fusion pulls a four out of five stars overall, but it dips to three stars in front crash tests. So while it is still a fairly safe vehicle to drive in, the Fusion is not as safe as the previous hybrids on this list.
Honda CR-Z: B-
The CR-Z is not unsafe exactly. Just like the Insight, the 2011 model had some roof strength problems, but according to the IIHS, but that’s been fixed in the 2012 model.
According to the government, it gets five stars in rollovers but only three in side crash tests.
The reason it ranks the lowest, though, is a design flaw in the roof.
If you look closely at the roof, you’ll notice it slants down, making it more difficult to see out the back, making the car itself more likely to get in a wreck due to a limited range of view.
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