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View Full Version : USA Today: Small Cars are "Deadly"


caarmike
08-21-2007, 06:01 PM
A new USA Today article says small cars can be deadly. I always thought people were just being paranoid for shying away from small cars for safety reasons, but this article puts some scary logic behind it. <p>The risk of dying in small car in a collision is on average 50% higher than it is in a midsize car. Even when you adjust for factors like the fact that small cars are typically driven by less experienced drivers. Airbags and other safety features don't do enough to close the safety gap.<p>The article also says that running into SUVs isn't the main cause of death in small cars, running into other small cars is.<p>Although studies show vehicle safety rises with weight, the benefits seem to trail off after 4,500 pounds. And pickup trucks are not as safe as other vehicles despite their size and weight.<p>All in all, some very interesting conclusions. I've always believed the benefits of small cars outweighed the safety risks but the people quoted in this article clearly beg to differ.<p>Is this the "Inconvenient Truth" of automotive safety or just propaganda by those opposed to higher fuel efficiency standards?<p>Read on...<br><A HREF="http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-08-19-small-cars_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip" TARGET="_blank">http://www.usatoday.com/money/...lskip</A>

Superfresa
09-15-2007, 09:21 PM
I deffinitely feel big cars are inherently safer. That said, there are small cars I'd prefer to be in in a crash than some large cars. But overall, a 4 star small car is a long way from as safe as a Large 4 star car. In every way.<p>That's a big reason why I stuck to a large car. I didn't need one, but its a lot safer (There are other reasons too though).

Ascariss
09-15-2007, 10:27 PM
uhm, you guys should watch the 2nd episode from this season's 5th gear, they crash a modus against a larger (older volvo). and yes the modus wins, it the modus was 2-3 years old as well.<p>4000 pounds (money) each. that is why the cars were chosen.

PRODIGY
09-19-2007, 05:44 AM
<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>Ascariss</b> &raquo;</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">uhm, you guys should watch the 2nd episode from this season's 5th gear, they crash a modus against a larger (older volvo). and yes the modus wins, it the modus was 2-3 years old as well.<p>4000 pounds (money) each. that is why the cars were chosen.</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Yeah I saw that. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://images.worldcarfans.com/CSS/forums/eek3.gif" BORDER="0"> I was very shocked indeed!<p>I thought that if I were to crash my tank like Saab 900 that i'd be the one coming off better, but obviously not <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://images.worldcarfans.com/CSS/forums/eek2.gif" BORDER="0">

iameveryguy
12-24-2007, 02:05 AM
I believe the biggest shortcoming for small cars in the event of an accident is that it does not have as much cushion for the occupants as in larger vehicles."
Life carries certain amount of inevitability. You need to stay sober and watch where you are going rather then managing your cellphone, radio or burger.
I want a smart for 2.

swizzle
12-24-2007, 02:34 PM
Physics 101: The vehicle with larger mass will tend to win. The Volvo/Modus crash was as apples to oranges comparison and an example of stupid journalism. Take a new car with up to date safety devices versus a yestertank. Wow shocking outcome...NOT! Let's crash a VW Rabbit into a Phaeton...the mass of the Phaeton is likely to be its asset. The Volvo/Modus illustration introduced a variable that subverted the basic laws of physics: the vehicles were not engineered to the same safety laws. Suburban verus ForTwo??? Give me the Suburban.

CosworthKid
12-24-2007, 05:50 PM
That article is bogus. I mean sure, most of the times a car which is larger and heavier will probably fair better than a smaller,lighter car. If a Smart ForTwo has a head on collision with a Hummer of course the Hummer will be "safer". The whole point is that smaller cars are more logical nowadays than huge SUV-type vehicles within the city limits, but in markets where people still buy large cars over small ones in big % differences of course it will be "safer" to be in the large one. As AM2 pointed out though it also depends on the car and this is where some people have to understand the difference of a well engineered and safe small car versus a "budget buy" car. A Modus as well as a Smart ForFour ARE very safe, perhaps safer than many larger cars but if u are driving a KIA Picando or the crop of new Chinese cars coming out and even the Tata infamous $3.000 car then you are asking for trouble especially if you are living in the US which is traditionally the land where "bigger is better". My point is people should be encouraged to buy smaller, economical and greener cars and not be terrorized by them, at least within most CBD's. I go mental everytime i see people driving their H2 Hummers in my city's small roads or even their Q7's and Range Rovers, most of the times being women who can not even drive them properly and they use these SUV's just to pick up their kids from school! Couldn't they use a small car for such "chores" and leave the big hulks for other occasions?

Also to check this video which i think makes my point of price/engineering. It shows a few large convertibles in safety testing, just look at how the windshield of the 2007 Ford Mustang bends compares to the other more expensive "overseas" models
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtWb3JaUUz0

swizzle
12-26-2007, 12:03 AM
..My point is people should be encouraged to buy smaller, economical and greener cars and not be terrorized by them, at least within most CBD's...]

Why shouldn't people have the absolute right to purchase and drive what they choose to? Smaller and "greener" cars are merely an attempt to enforce a pop-culture morality on people. Factor in the disposal of the Prius' batteries and an H2 or a Mustang GT is suddenly a greener car. Let's be honest. If Europeans had gas prices comparable to NA, they would most decidedly NOT be driving small, fuel sipping vehicles. And who died and left the greenies the moral compass? I'm off to find a '68 440 Charger that gets 11mpg...

caarmike
12-26-2007, 02:47 PM
The way I see it there's only so much oil to go around and sometimes we have go to some pretty shady areas of the world to get it. If certain people are using too much oil, then that means less oil for everyone else and higher prices.
The best choice individuals can make to save fossil fuels is to drive lighter vehicles. Not just hybrids, but also efficient internal combustion cars like the Corolla, Civic, Focus, etc.. It all made sense until I read this report from the IIHS that said "No, no! Lightweight cars are unsafe!"
Well, six months later I still believe small cars are the way to go. They may be "less safe" in an accident then big cars, but still safer than the big cars of 20 years ago. And if big vehicles are posing a major safety hazard for small vehicles then I think we should be reducing the number of big vehicles on the roads instead of scaring people into buying big gas suckers.

swizzle
12-27-2007, 04:52 PM
The way I see it there's only so much oil to go around and sometimes we have go to some pretty shady areas of the world to get it. If certain people are using too much oil, then that means less oil for everyone else and higher prices.
The best choice individuals can make to save fossil fuels is to drive lighter vehicles. Not just hybrids, but also efficient internal combustion cars like the Corolla, Civic, Focus, etc.. It all made sense until I read this report from the IIHS that said "No, no! Lightweight cars are unsafe!"
Well, six months later I still believe small cars are the way to go. They may be "less safe" in an accident then big cars, but still safer than the big cars of 20 years ago. And if big vehicles are posing a major safety hazard for small vehicles then I think we should be reducing the number of big vehicles on the roads instead of scaring people into buying big gas suckers.

The oil reserves are actually plentiful. The only reason it costs so much is that despotic regimes control it. OPEC could flood the market with crude and slash gas prices if they wanted to, but then they would lose control. I still marvel as some peoples' need to legislate and control the actions of others in a stab at some self-congratulatory, self-important, I-am-more-moral because I drive a hairshirt gas sipper. This is solely a political issue that has been emotionalized so far afield of the actual facts that a better use of time would be to teach a rock to contemplate.

CosworthKid
12-27-2007, 06:20 PM
Why shouldn't people have the absolute right to purchase and drive what they choose to? Smaller and "greener" cars are merely an attempt to enforce a pop-culture morality on people. Factor in the disposal of the Prius' batteries and an H2 or a Mustang GT is suddenly a greener car. Let's be honest. If Europeans had gas prices comparable to NA, they would most decidedly NOT be driving small, fuel sipping vehicles. And who died and left the greenies the moral compass? I'm off to find a '68 440 Charger that gets 11mpg...

I won't even go through the trouble to reply to that. You must be related to Miss South Carolina

swizzle
12-27-2007, 06:38 PM
I won't even go through the trouble to reply to that. You must be related to Miss South Carolina

Sneer all you want, but the facts about the vastness of oil reserves that the geopolitical complex that controls them are squarely on my side. Secondly, I will take freedom of choice as an absolute over socio-engineering by law that you seem to prefer. I don't live with a mindset that my morality is "best" and in order to prove it I must inflict it on others by law. Conversely, if your "morality" is so compelling, why does it need laws to make it accepted? Thirdly, I stand behind the concept that if gas were $3 a gallon in Europe, Europeans would NOT be driving what they drive at $6.00 per gallon. Finally, your need to insult rather than staying on topic merely says you are incapable of a cogent response to the contrary, therefore you have to result to attacking the messenger in an attempt to "win". I'm glad you feel better about yourself now.

CosworthKid
12-28-2007, 12:07 AM
Hmmm..."therefore you have to result to attacking the messenger in an attempt to "win" u say. This from a guy who called people who give 2 cents about the environment as "pop-culture" followers. None of what you blabbed about above makes any sense to me, if you think u stand correct then good for you. I am glad not everyone shares your "rebel" ideas as much as i am sure u are glad not everyone shares my "pop" ideas. I didn't think the Miss South Carolina comment would be your Achilles heel. I will now go listen to my Spice Girls album...

CosworthKid
12-28-2007, 12:21 AM
and something else just to finish this topic: u basically accused me of choosing to insult you rather than staying on topic which i find very ironic given that prior to your usual anti-green monologue i WAS very much on topic making a comment on small car Vs large car. You where the one who crashed the conversation making insults to people who do not share your "who gives a damn" sentiment. And you have a tendency of bringing that subject up everytime such a topic arises yet you feel u need to defend yourself against me? Also you constantly call me "eurocentric" while simultaneously you are very much stereotypical "all-American" in every statement you make (although ironically every "real-life" American friend I have have a very different perspective of such things than you - maybe it's cause they are all from New York?)

SV
12-28-2007, 02:58 AM
whether or not the oil is plentiful now is irrelevant. it's a limited fuel supply and will run out eventually, whether in 50 years or 500. besides that petroleum-fueled cars, no matter how much we clean them up, will always pollute to a degree (however small), feeding a vicious cycle of global warming. in this case the "pop-culture" morality is the correct one; yes we ought to have the choice of buying an 11mpg suburban, but that doesn't mean it's the responsible thing to do when you can get a minivan (or, more likely, a midsize sedan, given that most families are what, 4 or 5 people?) that does the job just as well with half the environmental impact.

2o6
12-28-2007, 03:29 AM
Unrelated, but you know what's sad? The Surburban and Honda Odyssey get almost identical MPG's.

CosworthKid
12-28-2007, 05:02 PM
We are all entitled to our own opinions, it's just that i think it is our responsibility to do more research and care for what is best for all of us instead of sticking to our personal needs regardless of consequence. Having said that i also apologize to swizzle if i sounded too harsh, he is my friend and i do respect his opinion as long as he does mine.

CosworthKid
12-28-2007, 05:14 PM
Unrelated, but you know what's sad? The Surburban and Honda Odyssey get almost identical MPG's.

That is sad indeed. It is very possible to get great MPG from an SUV, it's not like everyone has to drive mini cars. If not mistaken most Land Rover's actually offer decent to good economy for example, but compare that to most American SUV's u will see a huge difference. Yet even in America things are rapidly changing with cars such as the Hybrid Escape and in the near future there will be large petrol/diesel SUV's with much greener and refined engines offering world class economy. This is possible due to all those laws and pressure, hence why i am in favor of them. We are not talking about forcing people to buy a specific product but forcing car makers to make fuel efficient, cleaner engined cars. This could stretch from Smart fortwo's to even Challenger's and Hummers in the future as long as those car makers take it seriously. No one says you need to drive a Hybrid to be "green" nor that a Hybrid engine needs to be forced into a Mustang. There are some awesome petrol engines which offer great economy and much less CO2 emissions that also offer great horsepower and torque as well. I still stand firm that within city limits and CBD's people should opt for smaller cars cause there is no need for anything larger but they don't have to. What IMO they must do though is look at such important things as CO2 emissions and MPG figures when shopping for a new car and of course if they do go for a small car they should also check for crash safety records and stats as well
I guess back on topic now..

swizzle
12-28-2007, 10:47 PM
whether or not the oil is plentiful now is irrelevant. it's a limited fuel supply and will run out eventually, whether in 50 years or 500.

It is most decidedly relevant. Most estimates would say that 50 years is pessimistic, but let's assume that only 50 years supply lasts. Technology will NATURALLY improve by leaps and bounds as it has over the past 50 years making all kinds of alternate energy sources a reality. Today we have Corvettes that bump 30mpg in the real world.

CAFE was created originally to insulate the USA from OPEC and not because oil was running out.

IcedG35
12-29-2007, 08:29 PM
Unrelated, but you know what's sad? The Surburban and Honda Odyssey get almost identical MPG's.

Honda Oddssey is rated at 17/25; 20 combined for 2WD
Suburban is rated at 14/20 (14/19 for AWD); 16 combined for 2WD

Not really identical MPGs.

source www.fueleconomy.gov

swizzle
12-30-2007, 01:30 AM
It is illogical to say that the laws and pressure that are so en vogue with the greener members of this forum will not affect vehicle choice. It most decidedly will. Cars will have to be dramatically downsized to reduce weight which means they will have to be FWD to maintain enough interior room. This will reduce the number of RWD choices. No way around that. This will be like the 70's and 80's in that cars will have to rely on increasingly not-fully-ready technologies to meet the MPG law. It's also a dead wrong policy as it relates to the NA economy. This will result in job losses at Ford, GM, and Chryberus.

The resulting smaller cars have physics working against them and the hybrids still have that pesky battery disposal issue that remains the elephant in the room that no one is acknowledging on one hand and crash safety issues because of the hybrid powertrains.

A much simpler way of motivating consumers to buy efficient cars--and creating a way for manufacturers NOT to have to offer massive rebates on fuel sippers--all while allowing a wide range of choice would be to waive sales tax and licensing fees (say for 5 years) on any vehicle that meets or exceeds the MPG goal.

Car size and fuel economy are pretty linked. (I wonder who will be the first to say that a Veyron is a small car that gets bad mileage.)

caarmike
12-30-2007, 02:36 AM
A much simpler way of motivating consumers to buy efficient cars--and creating a way for manufacturers NOT to have to offer massive rebates on fuel sippers--all while allowing a wide range of choice would be to waive sales tax and licensing fees (say for 5 years) on any vehicle that meets or exceeds the MPG goal.

Agreed, this idea is much better than CAFE. My variation would be to take the Hybrid tax credits that are already in place and start applying them to efficient non-hybrids as well (anything that gets over 30 MPG EPA combined). Every year or two, you'd raise the threshold for the tax credit. On the other side you could start applying the gas-guzzler tax to a wider range of vehicles too. Anything with less then 18 MPG EPA combined would get the tax. That would also increase every few years. That way consumer choice is not restricted, but positive and negative incentives work to induce the "correct" behavior.

Anyway, lets stop fantasizing. We're stuck with CAFE :-(

2o6
12-31-2007, 08:43 PM
I COuld have Sworn, the Surburban and Odyssy averaged 18 Mixed in Motor Trends Test......

anonms
01-03-2008, 10:06 AM
caarmike, the magic number has been reduced from 30 to 28 according to posters I saw at the Honda dealership (that depicted a variety of midsize cars from various makes such as the Aura, Malibu, Accord, Camry, Galant, 6, etc.).

As for Surburban vs. Odyssey, Motor Trend (I think) actually commented on a Suburban vs the Odyssey and said the Odyssey had better fuel economy and more interior volume. This was 2-3 years ago, though (IIRC).

I don't think people should be forced to buy small cars. I believe people should be allowed to choose. But owning a truck or SUV doesn't mean you rule the road, and it's irresponsible to drive in such a manner where you endanger others. I've had too many close calls with people in SUVs that violate right of way and, even in my Sienna; I feel unsafe surrounded by irresponsible SUV/truck owners. My problem isn't the vehicle, my problem is the mentality of most of those that drive such vehicles. I believe in the right to choose, but I also believe that with choices come responsibilities. One responsibility is not endangering others. Another is making the right decision for yourself and for others. Choosing a Suburban when you have a 3-person family is rather irresponsible. However, if you needed to tow and haul 8 people and their cargo, buying a Suburban is most suitable. There is a finite amount of oil in the world and, regardless of what your belief is, humans have had some impact upon the Earth's warming/cooling cycles. Choosing to ignore the consequences of your actions is irresponsible to yourself and to others.

Superamerica
03-29-2008, 10:41 PM
Choosing a Suburban when you have a 3-person family is rather irresponsible. However, if you needed to tow and haul 8 people and their cargo, buying a Suburban is most suitable. There is a finite amount of oil in the world and, regardless of what your belief is, humans have had some impact upon the Earth's warming/cooling cycles. Choosing to ignore the consequences of your actions is irresponsible to yourself and to others.

I totally agree with you, anonms. Also it pisses me off that I always happen to get surrounded by tall SUVs when I'm stopped at the red light in my 4-door sedan. They block all my views and don't let me see the redlight... they even block the damn sun light. Besides, it feels really claustrophobic being in a sedan surrounded by Suburbans, Navigators, Tahoes, Expeditions, and the like. What's worse is that there's usually 1 fat ass person moving all that steel and driving like a sucker. :(

swizzle
03-30-2008, 12:55 AM
What's worse is that there's usually 1 fat ass person moving all that steel and driving like a sucker. :(

I didn't know you live in Bakersfield! Wow! I've had the same reaction in my Mustang.

Superamerica
04-01-2008, 10:10 AM
I didn't know you live in Bakersfield! Wow! I've had the same reaction in my Mustang.

LOL, yeah I've heard Bakersfield, CA, is pretty much like a Southern town. If my town (Hixson, TN) were representative of America, I think the Big 3 would be prospering with all the monster-size SUVs they sell down here.

Rob
04-01-2008, 10:40 AM
That can't be true. The new (2007) BMW MINI, 2007 Fiat 500, Fiat Grande Punto, 2007 Mazda2, 2006 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 1007, Peugeot 207, 2005 Renault Clio, Renault Modus and 2005 Toyota Yaris all got 5 stars in Euro Ncap crash tests.

Some 4x4s (Americans call them SUVs for some weird reason-they're not sporty at all) only get 3 stars.

I'm afraid that article is a load of rubbish.

IcedG35
04-01-2008, 04:32 PM
That can't be true. The new (2007) BMW MINI, 2007 Fiat 500, Fiat Grande Punto, 2007 Mazda2, 2006 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 1007, Peugeot 207, 2005 Renault Clio, Renault Modus and 2005 Toyota Yaris all got 5 stars in Euro Ncap crash tests.

Some 4x4s (Americans call them SUVs for some weird reason-they're not sporty at all) only get 3 stars.

I'm afraid that article is a load of rubbish.

Well what would you call a 2WD Suburban?

Rob
04-02-2008, 10:20 AM
If it hasn't got 4 wheel drive, maybe you'd call it an MPV (minivan), but I suppose you could call that an SUV. In the UK, we just call them 4x4s, even if they haven't got 4 wheel drive.

IcedG35
04-02-2008, 07:42 PM
If it hasn't got 4 wheel drive, maybe you'd call it an MPV (minivan), but I suppose you could call that an SUV. In the UK, we just call them 4x4s, even if they haven't got 4 wheel drive.

and we call them SUV's even if they're not sporty :)

Kramer
07-26-2008, 03:00 AM
IMO, fuel economy (in cars, at least) depends on your driving habits. Anybody see the Top Gear episode where they made an M3 keep up with a hard-driving Prius around the TG Track? Yes, the M3 won even though it had a bigger engine. But since the M3 was just trying to keep up (not using full potential), it got better fuel mileage than a hybrid car that was giving its all. So basically, IMO if you want better fuel economy, don't floor it at lights. Let the car coast down hills and when you see a red light. Don't be heavy on the gas and brakes.

Citroeniste
07-26-2008, 06:53 AM
They are called Sports Utility Vehicles, not because they are inherently sporty, but because they were originally pitched to persons with a "sporty" lifestyle (camping in the deep wilderness, taking 7 of your closest friends skiing, and still able to tow your jet skis) just look at the advertising for many of these vehicles (especially in the 90s when the market was coming into fruition) - they all pitched these active or "sport" lifestyles as part of the image of its owners.

Now for most, it only gets as sporty as hauling the kids to soccer practice...

ROBonCARS
02-10-2009, 11:09 PM
The small cars they are referring to arent actually small in England. Now the Toyota iQ/Smart 4Two is a different story. lol

Rob
02-11-2009, 05:31 PM
I'd call the Jetta a big car rather than a small one. If you call C-segments small, what do you call A and B-segs across the pond?
EDIT: Of course... subcompacts. Is that right? :confused:

Cousteau
02-17-2009, 07:14 PM
Thirdly, I stand behind the concept that if gas were $3 a gallon in Europe, Europeans would NOT be driving what they drive at $6.00 per gallon.

Europe is much older culture than US.
Streets in a city that has been designed just after middle ages are narrow. There is no, I mean no question about it that us, europeans, would still drive small cars even gasoline would be free. Have you ever seen traffic jam in Rome?
How about parking in Rome, Italy? Try to google that...