The Fit had been recommended by CR initially based on non-crash testing that found the vehicle had “easy cabin access and very good visibility,” with responsive steering and agile handling. It also has great gas mileage (33 mpg for manual transmissions; 30 mpg for automatic).
The Fit received “Good” ratings from the IIHS in the four other tests of crashworthiness — Moderate Overlap, Side, Roof Strength, Head Restraints & Seats — but Consumer Reports had to pull its recommendation after the announcement that the Fit’s small overlap test received an overall “poor” grade from IIHS.
In that test, which measures the damage done by crashing only the front corner of a vehicle into a barrier, there was structural intrusion into the driver’s space, and the crash test dummy’s head barely contacted the frontal airbag before sliding off and hitting the instrument panel.
The Chevy Spark was the only mini car to receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick award for 2013, but CR says it could not recommend the electric vehicle because its overall Road Test score from the magazine was only a 36 out of 100.
In October, Consumer Reports pulled its recommendations for three Toyota vehicles — the Camry, Prius V, and RAV4 — and the Audi A4 after they all performed poorly in the IIHS small overlap test.
Many of the vehicles that failed the small overlap test were designed before IIHS began this particular test in 2012. It’s hoped that future models of these cars will take this test into account so that there are not so many failures in coming years.