Bloomfield Hills, Michigan – Smart USA has announced that the U.S. model of the 2008 Smart Fortwo has earned the highest front and side crashworthiness ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The model is undergoing U.S. crash testing for the first time due to its initial sales in that country for the 2008 model year.

“The big question from consumers is, ‘How safe is it?’” said Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “All things being equal in safety, bigger and heavier is always better. But among the smallest cars, the engineers of the Smart did their homework and designed a high level of safety into a very small package. People base their buying decisions on a lot of factors. If you drive only in congested urban areas where speeds are low, a small car may be more practical than a big one. We conduct crash tests so people who want small cars can choose the ones that afford the best protection.”

In crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Smart earned only four of five possible stars for driver safety and three for passenger safety in a frontal impact; it earned five stars in a side-impact test, but with a safety concern that the driver’s door unlatched and opened. It also received three stars for rollover testing.

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