Chevy Volt Tops Nissan LEAF In Safety Tests



In the latest round of IIHS safety tests, the Chevy Volt earned top scores, while the Nissan LEAF was one of the worst performers on the new safety tests. The tale of two plug-in cars continues…

The IIHS praised the Volt’s safety and named it the safest of the dozen small cars they put through the paces. Only half of those cars earned and “Acceptable” rating in the 40 MPH small overlap front crash test, and only the MINI Cooper Countryman earned a “Good” rating. The Volt took top honors, however, thanks to its collision warning system, which the MINI and most of the other competitors lacked.

Meanwhile the Mazda5, Kia Forte, Nissan Versa and Nissan LEAF (which is based on the Versa) were singled out as the worst performers in the battery of safety tests. The IIHS was especially critical of the LEAF;
“The instrument panel, parking brake pedal and steering column were all pushed back toward the driver. Injuries to the left knee and left lower leg would be likely in a crash of this severity, and injuries to the left thigh would be possible.” The LEAF, along with the Mazda5, Forte, and Versa, were all rated “Poor”, with the Mazda5 also receiving a less-than-acceptable rating in the side-impact test.

Don’t take their word for it though; watch the cringe-worthy crash test video below, and then compare that to the Volt’s crash test. Which car would you rather be in?

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • OMG! Those both look like horrific accidents!!

  • AaronD12

    I’ll still take the LEAF. No ICE for me anymore. I’m spoiled.

  • Steve Hanley

    We have to keep in mind that this is an new crash test at significantly higher speed than previous tests. And since kinetic energy increases exponentially with speed, a 40 mph collision must dissipate twice as much energy as one at 30 mph.

    Still, I’m with Jo. I wouldn’t want to be in either car!

    And I have to take issue with Aaron. Being dead seems to be a high price to pay for sticking blindly to an article of faith.

    • Raymond Ramírez

      I agree with you. I see junk yards full of Japanese imports. I have only seen one junked Buick Regal, and it was over fifteen years old! I will never put lives at risk with any vehicle that cannot pass IIHS or NTHSA crash tests.

      • Wait- what kind of weirdness is this? Who said Japanese “imports” (ProTip: most Japanese nameplate cars are built in North America, including 90% of all Hondas sold here, and over 60% of the Nissans) couldn’t pass either test? Literally EVERY car sold in the US passes the NHTSA tests. It’s required!

        As for only seeing 1 junked Buick in a wrecking yard, you need to go to more wrecking yards, buddy. That’s just nonsense.

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  • GCO

    [copying my comment from Cleantechnica]

    What a load of bull. The Leaf scored poorly on one out of 16 criteria for injuries. Another score was marginal, the remaining 14 were rated good, the highest IIHS score.
    This made the Leaf a IIHS Top safety pick until this year.

    Of course, guess which single result a writer with an agenda will choose to focus on…

    Actual results from the IIHS:

    Pictures and videos from tests other than small overlap are on another page:

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