According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), crash related injuries are more likely to occur in smaller vehicles, even when a small car has received a high safety rating.
The conclusion that larger cars offer more protection was determined by looking at two sets of information. First, the IIHS performed crash testing between small cars and midsize or larger vehicles, unlike normal crash testing which uses two similar size cars. The results were particularly decisive, with even IIHS Top Safety Pick small cars like the 2011 Ford Fiesta and 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer performing poorly against larger models.
Second, the HLDI found that the highest insurance payouts went to drivers of mini or small cars. Personal injury and medical payments were 73% and 88% higher on minicars when compared to the average vehicle. Vehicles with the highest personal-injury claims included the Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Aveo, and Hyundai Accent while large SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans had the lowest claims.
While this data may seem obvious, it’s important to keep in mind when purchasing a small car as they are becoming more popular with rising gas prices, but are still outnumbered by larger vehicles on the road.