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With the high price of gas, consumers are looking to high gas mileage vehicles when buying a new car.  New to the U.S. market in this category is the 2008 Smart ForTwo, two seater micro car.  It’s smaller than a Mini Cooper – 3 feet shorter and weighs about 700 pounds less.  But with a vehicle this small, as a consumer I would want to know, is it safe?  Well, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests released today, it performed well in both front and side crash tests.

Apparently what the Smart lacks in size, which usually adds safety protection, it makes up for in safety restraints for front end crashes.  The front airbag absorbed the impact reducing the recorded injury to the test dummy.

With side impact crashes, the firm structure of the vehicle and the side airbags contributed to the low injury recordings to the test dummy.  These low injury recordings would have given The Smart a good rating, but because the door flew open in the side crash, IIHS downgraded the rating to acceptable.

The IIHS stressed the fact that with additional size, you get additional safety.  Therefore, the  safety of cars should be only compared to those in the same size category, for example compare the Smart to a Toyota Prius. 

The Smart car has been very popular for years in Europe where gas prices range between $4 and $6 a gallon.  As our gas prices creep closer and closer to $4 a gallon, will U.S. consumers start flocking to The Smart car?  Only time will tell. 

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