It might be cute, get great gas mileage and ooze the same kind of retro charm as cars like the 2012 VW Beetle and the 2012 MINI Clubman, but the 2012 Fiat 500 has scored just three stars for crash safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
While the little two-door Fiat 500 scored four stars in both the frontal and rollover crash tests, it was let down badly in the side impact crash test.
Although the driver was fairly well protected in the side barrier rating part of the side crash test, scoring five stars, the Fiat 500’s limited rear protection let it down.
When it came to protecting a female rear seat passenger seated behind the driver in a 35-40mph side-impact crash, the Fiat 500 scored just two stars out of a possible five.
The Fiat 500’s rating is the lowest we’ve seen in some time, especially when most of the rival cars in its class, like the 2012 Ford Fiesta, are scoring 4 stars or higher.
2012 Fiat 500 Front Impact TestEnlarge Photo
Interestingly, in Europe, where the crash test procedures are less weighted towards head-on Intersection-style crashes, the Fiat 500 scores top marks on the European NCAP tests.
The Fiat 500’s poor performance in the NHTSA crash tests is the worst we’ve seen for some time. In fact, one of the only other vehicles we can find with a similar crash test rating is the 2012 Dodge Caliber 4 DR FWD, made by Fiat’s sister company Chrysler.
Luckily, the poorly-performing 2012 Dodge Caliber is due to be replaced next year by the newly-developed 2013 Dodge Dart . Let's hope that it, and whetever succeeds the 2012 Fiat 500, survive fbring some more five-star ratings to the Fiat-Chrysler partnership.