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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Top Safety Ratings From Both U.S. Agencies

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General Motors' [NYSE: GM] breakthrough Chevrolet Volt might be one of your safest family-car choices as well as one of the cleanest, greenest choices.

The 2011 Volt has achieved an Overall Rating of five stars—including five stars for side impact and five stars for rollover—in the federal government's safety ratings program, administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And that's in addition to the top marks it received (along with the 2011 Nissan Leaf) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in all areas of testing, making it a Top Safety Pick.

In NHTSA side testing, the Volt shines and stands among the best vehicles in any class, with top five-star ratings in both subcategories of side testing—as well as in the new Side Pole test, which isn't yet factored into the Overall Rating.

Its occupant protection in testing wasn't quite perfect, though. While the tests found its protection to be up to five-star standards with a larger male test dummy on the driver's side, a passenger-side female-sized dummy found four-star results.

Thanks to its very low center of mass (often a trait only seen in low sports cars), the 2011 Volt is also one of the few family vehicles to gets five stars in the federal government's rollover test—determined by a dynamic tip test and static calculation, and showing the chances of rollover if the vehicle is tipped by a curb or a ditch.

[NHTSA; IIHS]

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