Small cars didn't fare too well in the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests.
Of 12 models tested, only the four-door Mini Cooper Countryman received the top rating of "good" from the safety group after new frontal crash tests, the Associated Press reported.
"The Mini Cooper Countryman gave a solid performance," Joe Nolan, the institute's senior vice president for vehicle research, said in a statement quoted by Forbes. "The Countryman's safety cage held up reasonably well. The safety belts and airbags worked together to control the test dummy's movement, and injury measures indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a real-world crash this severe."
Standing in the second-highest ranking of "acceptable" were the Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-Max, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ models. The Hyundai Veloster and Scion xB fell just below that rating, receiving "marginal" marks. The Nissan Leaf, Nissan Juke, Mazda5 and Fiat 500L all earned ratings of "poor."
Consumer Reports, a magazine that influences car buyers, pulled its recommendations for the Nissan Leaf electric model and the Mazda5 small crossover after the crash tests results were announced, USA TODAY reported.
"Collapse of the occupant compartment is the downfall for four small cars in this group, including the Fiat 500L, Mazda 5, Nissan Juke and Nissan Leaf," Nolan explained. "A sturdy occupant compartment allows the restraint systems to do their job, absorbing energy and controlling occupant motion."
Mazda noted in a statement that the Mazda5, which had non-deploying side air bags during the IIHS small overlap test, has received "good" ratings in two of the group's other crash tests.
"We take these results seriously, and are studying the results of these IIHS tests as we consider the design of future vehicles," the company said.