The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has made the 2014 Chevrolet Spark a Top Safety Pick after the minicar attained the highest possible “good” scores in the agency’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints tests. The 2014 Spark also achieved an “acceptable” score in IIHS’s new small overlap test, which emulates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle hits another vehicle or an object like a tree.
“Spark’s impressive performance in IIHS’s most stringent test yet demonstrates the intensive efforts of our global safety team to deliver big safety in a small package,” remarked Gay Kent, General Motors general director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. He said that the safety structure of the Spark extensively employs high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, adding that the minicar’s passenger protection package boasts of 10 standard air bags.
Since the Spark has a short wheelbase of 93.5 inches, the team had to strengthen its front-end structure to better absorb and distribute impact energy around passengers. The team also paved the way for a cradle extension for additional support in frontal collisions. Lightweight, high-strength steels account for over 62 percent of Spark’s under body and 42 percent of its upper body.
The vehicle’s rigid door beams and H-shaped structure under the seating area are engineered to improve protection during side impacts while its high-strength cross members are engineered to manage crush space in side impacts.
The minicar also features high-strength steel in its roof bow and B-pillar, improving occupant safety in a rollover crash. The Spark’s high-strength rear rail is also designed to help protect its fuel tank during side and rear impacts. Likewise, engineers designed the driver and passenger front knee air bags to cut the risk of lower extremity injuries during frontal crashes.