2012 Nissan Versa

The 2012 Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra earned the highest overall safety rating of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, the 2012 Nissan Versa was recently named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS categorizes the Versa sedan as a minicar. Only four other minicars are 2012 Top Safety Picks, including the Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and four-door Toyota Yaris. IIHS Top Safety Picks are vehicles that earn the top score of “good” in front, side and rear crash tests, as well as rollover tests. The 2012 Honda Civic sedan and Hyundai Elantra are also IIHS Top Safety Picks.

“This is the first time the Versa has earned TOP SAFETY PICK,” the IIHS says in a statement. “The redesigned model improves on the 2011 Versa's acceptable ratings for side impact and rollover protection.”

2012 Hyundai Elantra

NHTSA rates vehicles using a five-star system, with five stars being the highest. Vehicles are tested in front- and side-impact crashes, and for rollover risk, then given an overall rating. The 2012 Civic sedan also earned five stars in front and side crash tests, and four stars for rollover risk. The 2012 Elantra sedan received four stars in front and rollover tests, and five stars in side crash tests. The 2012 Versa sedan earned a four-star overall, side and rollover score, and a three-star side crash score.

“The Civic and Elantra join the Chevy Sonic, Volkswagen Passat, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac SRX, Saab 9-4X, Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger, Kia Sportage (all-wheel drive), Toyota Camry and Volvo S60 as the only vehicles to earn five-star composite scores for 2012,” Cars.com reports.

2012 Honda Civic

Despite their small size, compact cars have safety features that are comparable with midsize and large cars. The 2012 Versa sedan, Civic sedan and Elantra all have six airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes and brake assist as standard safety features. Inside Line says that these new safety ratings are important for new-car shoppers, “especially for those consumers looking to get into a small car in the wake of high gas prices.”

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