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SAFETY | 10 out of 10
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Highest "Good" rating for all but small-overlap craft safety, which it has not tested
The Volt doesn't currently make any synthetic noise outside the car to alert pedestrians of its presence, as the Nissan Leaf does.
The Leaf emits an artificial, gear-whine-like noise at low speed (inaudible in the cabin), as well as a "beep-beep" when the car's in reverse.
Wall Street Journal
While earlier models of the Leaf received top ratings for safety, the 2013 Nissan Leaf has not yet been fully rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It receives four out of five stars for rollover safety--the same as 2011 and 2012 models--but has not been rated for frontal or side crash safety, so there's not yet an overall rating.
Earlier Leaf models, however, received the NHTSA's highest five stars for overall safety, comprised of five stars for side crash and four stars for frontal crash safety.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2013 Leaf its highest rating of "Good" for moderate-overlap front crash, side impact, and roof crush safety. It has not rated the latest Leaf on its new small-overlap front crash test. Previous model years of Nissan Leaf were deemed a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
Nissan itself tested the Leaf extensively in dozens of crash tests, and said the lithium-ion battery pack in the floorpan suffered not damage in 40-mph side offset crash tests.
The 2013 Leaf comes with the standard array of electronic safety systems, including braking assist, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, and a monitoring system for tire pressure. It has six airbags: front-seat riders are protected by bags in the dashboard and the sides of the car, and all four outboard passengers are covered by side-curtain airbags that shield the entire window area front and rear.
The 2013 Nissan Leaf has not only the full suite of safety equipment, but also excellent crash-test scores.