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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Good," frontal offset impact; "good," side impact
Four stars, front driver impact; three stars, front passenger impact; five stars, side impact
upright driving position prevents occupants from feeling dwarfed by surrounding traffic
While the seating position of the 2010 Smart ForTwo is at the level of other cars, the lack of much car in front or behind the driver fosters a feeling of vulnerability despite a full suite of safety features, impressive engineering, and adequate safety scores. Smart says the 2010 ForTwo's safety cell offers occupant protection that rivals much larger vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested the Smart ForTwo; its scores were the lower of the two ratings agencies, with three- and four-star ratings for frontal protection, and five stars for side impact. NHTSA noted that "during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened," which "increases the likelihood of occupant ejection." The ForTwo has also been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which typically has the more stringent ratings system, and it earned the top "good" ratings for frontal and side impact results, along with an "acceptable" rating for rear impact.
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com register surprise at the high ratings, which Edmunds attributes to "the Tridion safety cell," a "cage of high-strength steel" that "allows the Smart car to withstand impacts as well or better than much larger cars." Thanks to the Tridion system and the fact that all the safety features come standard on every trim level, Kelley Blue Book testers feel comfortable praising the Smart ForTwo's "impressive crashworthiness."
Tellingly, the IIHS also crashed a Smart ForTwo against a Mercedes E-Class sedan in a typical frontal-offset collision. It found that the ForTwo did not fare well-going airborne and spinning around-underlining the fact that the ForTwo remains one of the lightest vehicles on the road, putting it at a disadvantage against vehicles of other sizes..
Cars.com reviewers note the ForTwo's standard safety features include "front and side-impact airbags-the latter extending upward to protect occupants' heads-as well as antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system." Jalopnik reviewers add that the 2010 Smart ForTwo "is safe," and "it feels safe, too," thanks to a "full retinue of airbags."
Car and Driver praises visibility from within the 2010 Smart ForTwo, proclaiming "the view out the windshield is panoramic." ConsumerGuide says that the Smart ForTwo's "upright driving position prevents occupants from feeling dwarfed by surrounding traffic" and affords "great visibility all-around." Despite its small stance, the 2010 Smart ForTwo leaves little to be desired in terms of driver visibility.
The good crash-test scores and safety equipment of the little 2010 Smart ForTwo prove that looks can be deceiving.