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DETROIT -- Most small cars, including some equipped with side airbags, fared poorly in the latest side impact crash tests conducted by a U.S. research group with links to the insurance industry.

In a report issued late Sunday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said only Toyota Motor Corp.'s Corolla and the Chevrolet Cobalt from General Motors performed well enough to earn its second-highest rating of "acceptable."

Both were equipped with optional side airbags in the tests after getting "poor" ratings in earlier side impact crash tests without them.

Other small cars all earned "poor" ratings in the latest tests, which simulate the force from the front end of a typical pickup truck or sport utility vehicle when it slams into the driver's side of a passenger vehicle at 31 mph.

Adrian Lund, the Insurance Institute's COO, said the least crashworthy of the vehicles was the aging Dodge Neon from the Chrysler group.

"This car is a disaster," Lund said of the Neon, which was tested without side airbags.

Lund noted that the Neon had also received the third-lowest rating of "marginal" in an earlier frontal crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute.

"If safety is a priority, the Neon is a small car to be avoided," he said.

Other vehicles tested by the Insurance Institute, with or without side airbags and earning "poor" ratings for side impact, include:

-- Ford Motor Co.'s Focus (without optional airbags).

-- Mazda Motor Corp.'s Mazda 3 (without optional airbags).

-- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Lancer (without optional airbags).

-- The Saturn Ion from GM (with optional airbags).

-- Volkswagen AG's New Beetle (with standard airbags).

-- Suzuki Motor Corp.'s Aerio and Forenza (both with standard airbags).

-- Nissan Motor Co., Sentra (without optional airbags).

-- Kia Motors Corp. Spectra (with standard airbags).

-- Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.'s Elantra (with standard airbags).

autonews
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haha. the neon a disaster? haha whats new?
 

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danggg
 

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I swear sunfires are death traps. I know of so many people who have been in bad accidents with those things.
 

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Shouldn't that be common sense? Side impact air bags or not, I NEVER feel safe in a small car. Hell I really don't feel all that safe in my Accord. I also read that because of that report, Consumer Reports recalled its claim of the Ford Focus as best small car of the year. Hell no other car passed without being tested with side impact bags what makes them think another car would be better?
 

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I think it would be pretty hard for small cars to pass this test because of the nature that they are. I mean if you give have a 6,000lbs SUV Tbone any of todays cars it would do some damaged no matter what. Cars are not made of super steel cage, they are made with the same metal that holds a soda in a can.
 

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The Neon also has some of the worst resale value of any car.

So did they not test the Civic? Isn't that a rather large oversight given that the Civic is one of the top 10 best-selling cars?
 

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Civic owned everyone on the test last year. Since the current model has no major changes, the elect not to test them and/or Honda could claim exempt based on last year's result while showing the Institute improvements made after given recommendation from a year ago.
 

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don't the visual tests that we see are plainly used just to show the effects...don't they actually know just by using computers now the real effects of damage occured to these cars?
 

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of course small cars arent going to be as good in crashes... and the neon, well, its just the neon, not much more to be said there...

i like small cars for performance reasons. i drive a miata. i know its dangerous in crashes, but it comes with the territory of owning one...

i guess its just one more factor to put into buying or not buying a car...

and one more reason not to buy a neon...
 

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the civic has the highest ratingin every category, right? i think i saw that on a commercial for the coupe.
 
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