The four-door Mini Cooper Countryman stood out among its peers in a new round of insurance industry crash testing, receiving the only good rating among 12 small cars evaluated.
Meanwhile, the lithium ion batteries equipping the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf electric vehicle survived their first Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small-overlap front crash tests with no problems reported.
The test, in use since 2012, examines how well vehicles handle 40-mph collisions in which there is 25 percent frontal overlap with a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier on the driver's side.
Although the Leaf's battery held up, the EV still received a poor rating in the test after suffering significant damage that puts drivers at risk of left knee, thigh and lower leg injuries.
The Volt, which picked up the institute's only Top Safety Pick+ overall award after this round of testing, received an acceptable rating in the small-overlap test.
To receive the group's Top Safety Pick+ designation, a vehicle must earn:
- A good or acceptable rating in the small-overlap test.
- A good rating on the institute's other four tests.
- Advanced or superior ratings for front crash prevention.
Electrified vehicles face a "unique challenge" in safety testing because of their heavy batteries, the institute said.
Overall, the institute has tested 32 small cars for small-overlap front crash protection, with 19 earning good or acceptable ratings and 13 receiving marginal or poor ratings.