CLEVELAND - If you're about to buy a new small car, new front-end crash test results might help you sort out the choices.
Some popular, small cars scored poorly in the new, tougher accident test conducted by t he Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The test simulates what happens when a car hits a fixed object, like a tree or telephone poll, at 40 mph.
The two-door and four-door versions of the Honda Civic were the only models that earned the top rating of "good." The Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Dodge Dart, and the Scion TC received "acceptable" ratings.
Among the vehicles that failed to pass the test were the Volkswagen Beetle and the Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic, the Nissan Sentra and the Kia Soul and Forte.
Institute Chief Research Officer David Zuby said their tests showed higher chances of significant injuries, "We see high forces in the legs that would be indicative of serious leg injuries ... in at least one case, we've got moderately high forces on the head, as a result of the head missing the air bag."
The Toyota Corolla wasn't tested because the automaker will be releasing a re-designed Corolla later this month.