2014 Chevrolet Spark is Top Safety Pick for IIHS

Article by Anita Panait, on December 30, 2013

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.

Press Release

2014 Chevrolet Spark Named a IIHS 2014 Top Safety Pick

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark is a Top Safety Pick and is the only vehicle in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety minicar segment to earn the rating in 2014 model year testing.

Spark achieved highest possible “good” scores in the IIHS’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints tests, and scored an “acceptable” in IIHS’s new small overlap test, designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole.

Minicars present unique challenges when designing for crashworthiness. Spark’s relatively short wheelbase of 93.5 inches required the Spark team to strengthen the car’s front-end structure to better absorb and distribute impact energy around occupants. A cradle extension offers additional support in frontal collisions.

Lightweight, high-strength steels constitute more than 62 percent of Spark’s under body and 42 percent of its upper body. The car’s rigid door beams and H-shaped structure under the seating area are designed to enhance protection in side impacts, and its high-strength cross members are designed to help manage crush space in side impacts.

Spark’s roof bow and B-pillar also use high-strength steels to help preserve the occupant space in a rollover crash. Likewise, the high-strength rear rail is designed to help protect the fuel tank in side and rear impacts.

Spark’s driver and passenger front knee air bags are designed to reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries in frontal crashes. Further protection is provided by dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side air bags and side curtain air bags that extend over the front and rear seating rows.

Additional safety features include a rollover sensing system, three-point safety belts in all four seating positions, safety belt pretensioners in the front driver and passenger seats, the LATCH child seat attachment system, adjustable head restraints and collapsible steering column.

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