Mini Cooper Countryman Aces Safety Test

Out of the dozen small cars tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only the MINI Cooper Countryman emerged with a...


Out of the dozen small cars tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only the MINI Cooper Countryman emerged with a good rating. The Countryman is a larger four-door version of the two-door MINI, but the IIHS pointed out that the results do not apply to the two-door model, which was not tested this time around. The all-electric Chevrolet Volt (with a petrol-powered range extender) received an acceptable rating, but the only other EV rival, the Nissan Leaf, was rated ‘poor’. 

The "poorest performer" was the Mazda 5, a four-door wagon. The occupant compartment collapsed and the steering column moved away, which resulted in the test dummy's head sliding off the airbag deployed from the steering wheel and hitting the panel  in front. Watch the video, and you'll sell your Mazda 5 if you had one:


IIHS introduced the small overlap test in 2012, which has caused the safety ratings of many vehicles to drop. The test simulates collision when only 25% of the vehicle’s front end collides with another object at 40mph. Compared to the head-on collision test conducted by the NHTSA, the small overlap test is a bigger challenge for some safety belt and airbag designs because passengers move forward and toward the side. The overlap collision also bypasses most of the crush zone, thus allowing the force of the collision to transfer to the passenger compartment.

Joe Nolan, a senior vice president of IIHS, said, "The Countryman's safety cage held up reasonably well. The safety belts and airbags worked together to control the test dummy's movement, and injury measures indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a real-world crash this severe.” The car is as sturdy as its name implies. Grr…

image: IIHS

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