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The 2012 Fiat 500 earns IIHS Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced that the subcompact 2012 Fiat 500 has received a Top Safety Pick – making it just the second option in the American minicar segment to receive the major safety certification after the Ford Fiesta became the first to earn these honors.

The 2012 Fiat 500 earned “good” marks in front, side, rollover, and rear impact tests as well as receiving positive marks for the Italian subcompact coming with standard electronic stability control. While good might not sound as great as you would like to think, “good” is what the IIHS uses for their highest rating and with such strong marks in every category, the Fiat 500 joins the Ford Fiesta as being the only cars in their class to achieve the IIHS Top Safety Pick.

As an interesting note, the IIHS Top Safety Pick for the 2012 Fiat 500 only applies to those models built after July 2011. It seems that the sporty Italian compacts built in July 2011 and earlier had a front seat structure that did not properly protect the occupants of the vehicle but starting in August 2011, Fiat began using a new front seat structure that helped to provide better protection for the driver and passengers. It should be pointed out that even with the less-than-ideal front seat structures, the 2012 Fiat 500 still received “good” measures in the side and rollover tests although front and rear impact tests yielded just a “marginal” rating. However, based on the early testing results Fiat was quick to make the change to the front seat undercarriage and the results made a big difference – helping the 2012 Fiat 500 to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

The common conception with minicars like the Fiat 500 or the Ford Fiesta is that being such small vehicles, they are less likely to stand up to an impact from a larger vehicle but thanks to the innovations made by the new Fiat 500, the sexy little Italian subcompact has been found to be one of the safest cars on the US market while also offering the ease of use and great fuel economy expected of the minicar segment.

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