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Old 06-24-2010, 10:11 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
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Prius C - '12 Toyota Prius C
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Originally Posted by ShadeTreeMech View Post

Cars like this one horrify me. There is no crush zone in case of a rear end collision, except the heads and bodies of whoever may be in the back, which would have to be children. Put an adult in the back and the back glass acts as a headrest.

If I had a car like this, the back seats would come out and be disposed of. My minvan has a sturdier frame and more room in the back than these things, and even it scares me a bit.
I've read about rear head airbags on one of these cars... I think it was the Toyota iQ. You have a few inches of airbag between you and the glass. The other guy's bumper is supposed to connect with something solid in your car, and you'll go 0-20 in zero seconds, which will hurt, but it's not going to crumple like a tin can and kill everyone. At least not in a 20mph collision. Also, the bumper is probably six inches behind the rear glass, which doesn't count for as much in America as it does in Europe and Japan.

Your minivan is not inherently safer, because your van weighs twice as much. Your frame needs to be twice as stiff to endure the same acceleration without buckling.

All that said, I like to have a foot or two of crumple zones behind my rearmost passengers, which would make a rear end collision less jarring for everyone. I also like to have as much crumple zone up front as possible. There are small cars, including the Smart, that do amazingly well in crash tests considering their size, but that's qualified praise.
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