Does the high price of gas have you wanting to move to a smaller car to help save on commuting expenses? Smaller cars offer many benefits, besides just better gas mileage. They are far easier to maneuver, park, and typically cost less to purchase and maintain.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performs tests to determine crashworthiness, or how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash. The purpose of the test is not how well a car holds up in an accident, but how protected the passengers are. Vehicle ratings from the institute range from good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based. The ratings are determined by a car's performance in 1) high-speed front and side crash tests, 2) a rollover test, and evaluations of 3) seat and 4) head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety only provides "Top Safety Picks" for 2011 cars if the vehicles perform well in all four tests.
The cars listed below are all Top Safety Picks for 2011 (in alphabetical order):
4-door models (except Si) with optional ESC
Kia Forte sedan
built after December 2010: sedan | hatchback
Mini Cooper Countryman
Mitsubishi Lancer sedan
(except 4-wheel drive)
(except WRX): sedan | wagon
If you're in the market for a new or used vehicle, check with your credit union for a low-rate auto loan after trying Credit Unions Online's financial calculators to see how much your car payments might be. Once you're in your new safe small car you can feel comfortable knowing you made a smart purchase to help protect you and your family.