With gas prices hovering around $4 throughout much of the country, every day the news seems to feature another story about dealer lots filled with unwanted SUVs while small econoboxes are selling for sticker price or more. Yet with so many commuters ditching their heavy haulers for something a little more petite, there is one issue that seems to get overlooked -- safety. After all, back when Tahoes and Expeditions ruled the road many owners defended the guzzlers by saying they offered more protection on the highway than little, eco-friendly tin cans. But now, with those people now piloting Fits and Yarises, you don't hear that argument quite so much.In addition, surrounding yourself with lots of sheetmetal isn't always the best protection -- despite their small appearance, many small cars are actually very safe, at least according to their crash test results. When the smart fortwo arrived on U.S. shores many wondered how it would hold up in a wreck, but in recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing the minicar was impressively crashworthy. And sometimes the opposite can be true, too -- when the last-generation F-150, for example, was tested by the IIHS, the truck crumpled like a soda can. So given that size doesn't guarantee protection and for many drivers small is the new big, anyway, this raises a question: which 10 cars on sale today will hold up the worst if you wrap them around a tree?
(Ratings separated by front-, side-, and rear-impact tests)
10. Hummer H3 -- Front: Acceptable, Side: Acceptable, Rear: Poor
9. Jeep Patriot (without optional side-airbags) -- Acceptable, Marginal, Acceptable
8. Pontiac G6 Convertible -- Acceptable, Marginal, Marginal
7. Mitsubishi Raider/Dodge Dakota -- Acceptable, Marginal, Poor
6. GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado -- Acceptable, Poor, Marginal
5. Mazda B Series/Ford Ranger -- Acceptable, Marginal, Poor
4. Chevrolet Aveo -- Acceptable, Marginal, Poor
3. Saab 9-7X/Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC Envoy -- Acceptable, Poor, Marginal
2. Suzuki Forenza -- Acceptable, Poor, Poor
1. Kia Rio/Hyundai Accent -- Acceptable, Poor, Poor
Honorable Mention: Chrysler 300 (Good, Poor, Marginal), Mazda 3 (Good, Poor, Marginal), Audi A4 Cabriolet (Good, Marginal Poor), BMW 3 Series Convertible (Good, Marginal, Poor), Buick LaCrosse (Good, Marginal, Poor)
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