Arlington, Virginia – A new test of bumper damage in fender-benders by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that none of the bumpers on seven tested mini- and micro-cars earned top ratings, and only one rated “acceptable.”

The IIHS evaluated results according to a new ratings protocol for low-speed tests that better represents the damage insurance claims centres assess daily.

In its testing, the Smart Fortwo rated “acceptable,” while the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Mini Cooper earned “poor” ratings, and the Chevrolet Aveo rated “marginal.”

In the four tests, two with full-width impacts and two corner, the Kia Rio was the worst performer, sustaining US$9,380 total damage. It racked up about $3,700, or 30 per cent of its purchase price, in the full-front test alone.

The Smart Fortwo was the best overall, with $3,281 total damage in four tests, mostly because its pre-painted plastic body panels are dent-resistant, inexpensive, and easy to replace. The Chevrolet Aveo was next-best, with $4,490 total damage.

These are the first bumper test results released under a new IIHS ratings protocol based on repair costs average and weighted to reflect real-world damage patterns. Weighted average repairs must be less than $500 for a “good” rating, less than $1,000 for “acceptable,” and less than $1,500 for “marginal.” Repairs of $1,500 or more earn a “poor” rating.

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