Nightly News   |  January 22, 2014

Only 1 Minicar Passes Crash Test

On Wednesday the insurance industry warned just one of the mini subcompact cars it tested earned an ‘acceptable’ score in the most recent series of crash tests replicating front corner crashes.

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>>> some of the best known and most heavily advertised small cars in this country have performed miserably in a new round of crash tests. they all fall in the class of mini- sub compacts . we get our report from nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: the latest crash tests involving the smallest cars in the market did not go so well. the insurance institute for highway safety said that none of the cars earned an overall good rating, and only the chevrolet spark earned a good score.

>> many cars are the worst performing of those we tested, ten of them are in marginal or poor ratings for protection.

>> reporter: the protection test measures how well a car holds up when the front corner collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or a pole. earning marginal scores, the mazda, the ford fiesta , earning poor scores, the mitsubishi, hyundai accent , and the honda fit . in nearly every car, the vehicle structure collapses, in some cases the dummies' heads hitting on impact.

>> i have a 2-year-old daughter, and frankly we are very concerned about how protected we really are.

>> reporter: of course, what makes the cars attractive, they're easy to park and get great gas mileage , but safety experts warn it could come with a tradeoff.

>> in eight of the cars we tested, the air bags did deploy, but were too short to fully protect the head.

>> reporter: many say their cars exceed or meet government standards, honda says the 2015 fit has been redesigned to fit the scores on the next test. as retailers suggest shoppers buy bigger, heavier models. tom costello, nbc news, washington.