Seeing that occupants in rollover crashes benefit from stronger roofs, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested cars and rated them accordingly.
It was found out that the Smart Fortwo has the strongest roof and the Chevrolet Aveo has the weakest among 2009 micro and minicars recently tested.
The Smart earns the highest rating of good compared with acceptable for the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Mini Cooper, and Toyota Yaris. The Aveo is rated marginal. To be rated good, vehicles must have roofs that are more than twice as strong as the current minimum federal safety standard requires.
The ratings are meant to add to consumer information tests that rate vehicles for front, side, and rear crashworthiness.
The roof test is designed to help consumers pick vehicles that will help protect them in rollover crashes. Institute president Adrian Lund said that roofs have gotten stronger during the past few years.
He claims that part of the reason is that automakers have made structural improvements to earn better front and side ratings in Institute tests.
Strong A and B pillars help prevent intrusion in these types of crashes and they also help hold up the roof. Small cars are believed to score well on the roof strength test. Their light weight means their roofs don't have to work as hard to keep the structure around the occupants intact in a rollover.