The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just come to a conclusion that we suspect many motorists have known for years - when it comes to car safety, size does matter. Conducting tests pitting micro cars against larger midsize vehicles, the IIHS found that in many cases the smaller cars were not able to afford their passengers the same level of protection as their larger counterparts.

Unlike tests that show just how much damage SUVs can cause to micro cars, the focus on midsize vehicles, such as the Toyota Camry, was used to present a fairer testing scenario, rather than say crashing a Toyota Yaris into a Hummer.

In total, three tests were conducted and included the use of a Smart ForTwo, a Honda Fit (Jazz) and a Toyota Yaris. All three cars were then put in head-on crashes with midsize vehicles manufactured by their own respective companies - for the ForTwo, it was put up against a Mercedes Benz C-Class, while the Fit took on the Honda Accord and the Yaris faced the Toyota Camry.

For many, the test results were not really that surprising in their eventual outcomes, but it was the sheer spectacular nature of the crashes that was a shock. For example, when the ForTwo and the C-Class collided, the diminutive Smart was launched into the air where it was spun around 450 degrees before landing - this resulted in the possibility of extensive injuries to the occupants, including to the head and neck.

The results were not dissimilar in the other match-ups, and the tests contradict previous IIHS safety ratings for the Yaris, Fit and ForTwo. Previous head-on crashes into deformable barriers earned these cars the IIHS' highest rating of 'good', but when pitted against cars that were twice their weight, all three models scored the worst rating of 'poor'.

Despite the results, many manufacturers are claiming that the tests depict an extremely unusual and severe crash. In reality, the tests haven't done much to alter the way we look at small cars in terms of their safety aspects - rather, they've just proven the basic laws of physics.