2009 Volvo C30
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted a new battery of crash tests -- this time on an assortment of coupes. Generally speaking, all five models performed well, but the Ford Focus and the Volvo C30 came out on top, beating out the Chevrolet Cobalt, Honda Civic, and Scion tC.
Each of the small and midsize coupes earned an overall score of "acceptable" or better. In fact, on the frontal offset test, four of the five earned a "good" rating -- the only vehicle to earn an "acceptable" being the Scion tC. The IIHS was particularly critical of the tC's lack of electronic stability control, which can seriously minimize the risk of crashing and, in the case of an accident, offer the driver additional control over the vehicle. According to the IIHS, electronic stability control "reduces fatal single-vehicle crash risk by 51 percent and fatal multiple-vehicle crash risk by 20 percent."
IIHS senior vice president for vehicle research, David Zuby, explains that much of the credit for the strong performance of all five vehicles is thanks to the automakers themselves following through on pledges to improve safety equipment. He pointed in particular to side airbags, which manufacturers voluntarily agreed to make standard equipment on new models by the 2010 model year.
For those who prefer moving images to the written word, here's a video overview of the IIHS findings: