In the latest round of testing the 2008 Smart ForTwo earned the top rating of ‘good’ for front and side crash protection. Its seat and head restraints earned the second highest rating of ‘acceptable’ for protection against whiplash in rear impacts, preventing it from gaining a ‘Top Safety Pick’ from the Intistute.
According to Institute president Adrian Lund, bigger and heavier is always better but among small cars the ForTwo is one of the safest. However, once again the results are slightly marred as the Institute's test results generally demonstrate how well vehicles stack up against others of similar size and weight - a near impossibility, statistically, for the ForTwo on American roads.
At the end of the day frontal ratings can't be compared across weight classes, meaning a small car that earns a good rating isn't safer than a large car that's rated less than good.
Researchers noted that the Smart lacks a front-end crush zone, a key component in reducing injury risk in serious frontal crashes, but the car’s restraint system as well as its stiff side structure and standard side airbags contributed towards its ‘good’ rating. One glaring issue was that the driver door unlatched during the crash – a repeat of a similar incident that occurred during the NHTSA tests.