2012 FIAT 500 NHTSA front crash test

The federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just released the results of their crash tests of the 2012 FIAT 500. 

The FIAT 500 receives an overall score of three out of five stars, which is less than other competing affordable small cars, and worse in general than most other vehicles sold. “The 500 finds itself in the company of the Dodge Caliber and outgoing Ford Escape as the only models tested so far to receive the three-star designation,” notes Autoblog. Both of these models are slated to either be discontinued or redesigned within the next few years.

In frontal crash scores, NHTSA rated the FIAT 500 at four out of five stars. The 500 also gets a score of four out of five stars in rollover tests, a result of its 14.5 percent risk of rollover.

2012 FIAT 500 NHTSA crash test

However, the FIAT 500 only gets a score of two stars out of five in side crash tests. A driver who’s an average-sized male gets five-star side protection, but a female-sized adult in the passenger side only gets two-star crash protection. NHTSA also notes that the rear passenger suffered worse than usual rib injuries.

Auto analysts point out that this may further slow the low-volume FIAT 500’s sales, since Americans are already wary to purchase affordable small cars that they think may be less safe than larger ones in a collision. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the 2012 FIAT 500 as a Top Safety Pick, which means it received the top score of “Good” in all four tests, so Chrysler and FIAT may still have some hope for the success of this Italian-style small car.

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