WASHINGTON -- Even the best side-impact airbags do only so much to protect people in severe collisions, according to the latest crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The institute, a research organization for auto insurers, strongly favors side airbags that protect heads. But it still gave poor side-impact scores to the Saturn Ion, Hyundai Elantra, Suzuki Forenza, Volkswagen New Beetle and Kia Spectra, five small cars with such airbags. The institute said weak body structures caused crash dummies to record severe injuries to torso or pelvic areas.
Nine other small cars also got poor ratings. Only the Chevrolet Cobalt and Toyota Corolla, both with head-protecting side airbags, were rated acceptable. No small car tested received a good score.
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