Remember when driving a small car meant worrying about crash safety? Those were the days: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that the diminutive 2012 Fiat 500 has earned a Top Safety Pick award.
The 500 qualifies for the Top Safety Pick award by first offering electronic stability control as standard, which it does across the entire model range. It also comes with a standard array of seven airbags: two front, two side impact, two side curtain (spanning both rows of seats), and one driver’s knee airbag.
The IIHS said that the 500 performed well enough to score “good” in the front offset crash test (which puts the front driver’s side into a wall at 40mph), the side impact test (which puts a test rig into the driver’s door at 31 mph), and the roof strength test (which pushes a metal plate against a corner of the roof). The IIHS did say, however, that the Top Safety Pick rating only goes to 500 models made after July 2011 — models made before that point have an inferior driver’s seat assembly, which only allowed the car to get a Marginal rating in the front offset test.
With this award, the Fiat joins the Ford Fiesta as the top two models in the minicar (subcompact) range, beating out the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris, and Mini Cooper.
Want to see the top picked Fiat in action? Check out the IIHS’ video of the crash tests below and see for yourself.