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Due to rising fuel costs, smaller cars have become more popular because of their fuel efficiency and low costs. However, recent crash tests show that so called mini cars may compromise on safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 2009 models of the Honda Fit, Smart Fortwo and Toyota Yaris in front-end crashes with mid-sized cars. According to the IIHS, those tests demostrate that there are safety trade-offs for the fuel efficiency and affordability of mini cars. Makers of mini cars argue that the type of crash simulated in the IIHS tests are not common in real world conditions. The tests paired the Smart Fortwo with the Mercedes C Class, the Honda Fit with the Honda Accord, and the Toyota Yaris with the Toyota Camry, with each car moving at a speed of 40 miles per hour, representing a severe crash. In each of the pairings, the mini car received a poor rating from IIHS, after receiving extensive damage and showing a high risk of passenger injuries. Meanwhile, the mid-sized cars that they were paired with held up well. In past tests mini cars fared well in tests against similarly sized cars, but the recent tests demonstrate potential problems when the mini cars are involved in accidents with larger vehicles.

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