Fiat 500 receives poor safety rating

AF News Desk
12-12-2011, 12:29 PM
The hits seem to keep on coming for the Fiat 500, this time in the form of a potentially sale-hindering safety rating of just three stars from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The story from Automotive News (

Fiat 500, in another setback, gets 3-star safety rating

DETROIT -- The slow-selling 2012 Fiat 500 now has another obstacle in its sales path: It has been tagged by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a three-star safety rating, the lowest of any new model tested so far.

The two-door subcompact received four stars from NHTSA for frontal crash and rollover accidents but received just two stars for side-impact crash safety, the agency announced on its Web site,

The tests gave the car a combined overall safety rating of three stars, NHTSA reported. The outgoing Dodge Caliber and Ford Escape SUV were the only other 2012 model vehicles whose test results have been completed and released so far by the agency with three-star ratings.

The crash test results and star ratings have yet to be released for the 500's primary competitor, the Mini Cooper, as well as such other 2012 subcompacts as the Honda Fit, Chevy Sonic and Toyota Yaris. The Ford Fiesta subcompact received a combined four-star rating, the agency reported.

NHTSA's side-impact crash tests involve both an impact with a side barrier at a simulated 38.5 mph crash and a second simulated stationary pole crash. Though the vehicles tested had curtain airbags and torso/pelvis airbags, the rear-seat passenger position was rated at just two of five possible stars for safety in the side-barrier crash test, while the driver's seat position achieved a five-star safety rating in the same crash test.

In the side-pole crash, which simulates an impact at 20 mph with a narrow, fixed object, the driver's position achieved a three-star rating out of a possible five stars, NHSTA reported.

"Development of the Fiat 500, like all Chrysler Group vehicles, makes safety and security a priority," Chrysler said in a statement, which cited the model's advanced safety features. "The company strives to continuously improve vehicle performance for third-party tests."

IIHS results differ

While the Fiat 500 received only a three-star rating from NHTSA, it was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which also conducts rigorous crash testing.

Russ Rader, a spokesman for the insurance institute, said the physical barrier in his agency's side-impact test, which simulates a crash with a truck or SUV, is physically higher than NHTSA's, which simulates a broadside crash with a car. The rear-seat crash test dummy in NHTSA's test suffered damage in its pelvis and torso.

"That's why consumers should always look at both sets of test results," Rader said.

Through November, Chrysler sold 17,444 units of the Fiat 500 in the United States. The automaker reported 11,200 units in inventory on Dec. 1, a 173-day supply. Chrysler Group reported sales of 1,618 units of the Fiat 500 in November, the third straight month that sales had fallen from the previous month.


Development of the Fiat 500, like all Chrysler Group LLC vehicles, makes safety and security a priority. In fact, the Fiat 500 features more than 35 safety and security features including: driver and front-passenger advanced multi-stage air bags, driver's knee air bag, full-length side-curtain air bags and standard seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags, all to offer enhanced occupant protection to all occupants in the event of a collision.

In addition, the company strives to continuously improve vehicle performance for third-party tests. We do know that the 2012 Fiat 500 has been named a "Top Safety Pick" for 2011 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS recognizes vehicles that demonstrate "good" performance in front, side, rollover and rear crash test evaluations performed at its Vehicle Research Center.

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When it comes to purchasing a car, the quality of safety implements is something that should be considered heavily, especially when it comes to compacts such as the 500.

What's interesting to me is the discrepancy between the NHTSA's results and the IIHS' results. One would think if the difference between a two-star rating and a five-star rating (the scores for the side-impact testing between the two companies, respectively) is the height of a barrier used for testing, there would be a need for consistency when it comes to testing such areas. But that's just me.

You also have to take into account that the IIHS is the same company that believes the Volt battery issue is not a safety concern - a move I personally disagree with, despite the time it takes for the issues to become apparent.

I personally prefer the opinions of a company that doesn't have the word "insurance" in the title when it comes to vehicle safety. Either way, if you're doing homework on a car and something like this comes up, my advice would be to simply look elsewhere for a vehicle until there are consistent results across the board. I mean come on, who wants to drive a car that [i]might[/b] be safe/unsafe? Exactly.

01-26-2012, 07:58 AM
I have a solid top fiat 500 and the safety rating here in the UK is 5star. I wouldn't want to get into a crash with the topless model tho, my head is too big it would probably stick out of the roof.

Aalia Nebhan
07-20-2013, 05:24 AM
I think the Fiat 500 is the least good of the 3 trims. For looks, while the 500 is beuatiful, the abarth is beautiful, the turbo looks puzzled. Some sections like the headlamps and shifter look mean, but other parts like the look cute. :grinyes:

08-14-2013, 02:27 PM
I had the original version - it was my first drive, and we sold it last year...I love the remake!

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