Small in stature, a group of 2009 two-door cars are providing good safety value to car shoppers, according to crash tests released Tuesday.
The Ford Focus and Volvo C30 received top scores in front-end, side and rear crash tests, according to tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Two-door versions of the Chevrolet Cobalt and Honda Civic, meanwhile, received top scores in front-end tests and the second-highest rating in side tests. The Civic received the top score in the rear test while the Cobalt has not yet been tested for rear crash protection.
The Scion tC, which is manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp., received the second-highest score of acceptable in both the front-end and side tests. It received the second-lowest rating of marginal in the rear crash test.
The Institute decided to test the two-door cars because they are frequently asked how the small vehicles perform in crash tests, said David Zuby, the Institute's senior vice president for vehicle research. He called the overall results "good news."
Zuby said all the vehicles tested were equipped with side air bags that protect the motorist's head. He said the side test results were strong, "considering how demanding the side test is. It simulates being struck by a pickup or SUV."
The vehicles range in prices from $15,305 for the Honda Civic Coupe to $23,800 for the Volvo C30.
The tC's structure held up well in the crash, but Zuby said the forces recorded on the dummy indicated that a driver could suffer an injury to the lower right leg. The tC is not equipped with electronic stability control, which helps a driver avoid a rollover crash.
Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman, said the tC was last redesigned for the 2005 model year and Toyota has been installing stability control and improved head rests in newly redesigned vehicles. Toyota has not announced when it plans to upgrade the tC, he said.