Talk to a Smart rep about the ForTwo minicar, and the discussion invariably turns to safety. That’s because the public’s reaction to the ForTwo seems to hinge largely on what people think of its crashworthiness. That ought to be expected when you market a car half the length of a New York taxicab.
The ForTwo is scheduled to hit showrooms in early 2008. Smart representatives are quick to point out its bevy of safety features, as well as its projected crash-test results. Even so, some experts remain skeptical, warning that drivers of small cars like the ForTwo have an increased risk of personal injury if they get hit by a larger vehicle.
The ForTwo’s appearance at the Detroit auto show carries unfortunate timing. Last month, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tested several small cars, including the Chevy Aveo and Honda Fit, and five of the eight models — including some with advanced safety features like side curtain airbags — fared poorly.