For years small cars have been that strange compromise between price sensitivity and safety. Mainly, small cars have been inexpensive with the compromise that they aren’t as safe as their larger brethren. Some manufactures have set out to change that perception and basically challenge what we have considered to be the norm in the small car market. The work has seemed to pay off with the announcement from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that a minicar has been awarded the Top Safety Pick.

To be fair we are only looking at the test since the IIHS has instituted the rollover strength test, but generally I think we can all agree that it is important not to be crushed by our small car in the event of a rollover. The win in this category goes to the Ford Motor Company for the 2011 Ford Fiesta. If you have been reading through our previous articles over the last couple of weeks you will notice we are talking about the Fiesta a lot these days. Why? It isn’t because Ford is paying us off, but because this sub-compact car is quite remarkable.

For a car that starts at $13,995, the Fiesta shows that it is not only economical and class leading in available creature comforts, but also will keep you safe at the same time. Something that couldn’t be said for cars in the sub-compact category in the past—or at least not with such certainty. The IIHS rated the 2011 Ford Fiesta as “good” in front, side rollover and rear crash protection. For those of you unfamiliar with the IIHS’s work, that is the highest rating that the institute will give.

Bottom line—the 2011 Ford Fiesta is sitting at the front of the pack when it comes to the minicar market…the question is, who will challenge them.

Stay tuned to for the latest and be sure to check out our Fiesta Driven Report and Hatch Versus Sedan commentary.


[Source: IIHS]