In general, small cars are viewed as less safe than larger cars. While the added girth of an SUV or pickup truck may help insulate passengers during a crash, the truth is this year's crop of 2011 compact cars offers a variety of models that provide a good level of safety. Keep reading to review a few of the safest small cars for 2011 so you can find the one that best fits your needs.
2011 Ford Fiesta
The 2011 Ford Fiesta was the only vehicle in the minicar category to earn a "Top Safety Pick" award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Other vehicles in this category include the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris. Given this minicar distinction, it should come as no surprise that the efficient Fiesta delivers a maximum of 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Base models come standard with seven airbags (including a class-exclusive driver's knee airbag), anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and traction control.
Learn more about the 2011 Ford Fiesta.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze
The Chevrolet Cruze is a new compact that clearly places safety as a priority. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes (front disc/rear drum), front knee airbags, rear side airbags and full-length curtain airbags. Four-wheel disc brakes are available on the LTZ trim. Thanks to this thorough safety package, the IIHS lists the Cruze as a "Top Safety Pick" for the year. Fuel efficiency for the Chevy Cruze Eco trim comes in at 28 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.
Learn more about the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
2011 Kia Soul
The Kia Soul may be a good option for those looking to balance style, safety and efficiency. Base models come standard with a long list of safety features, including four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, six airbags, brake assist and active front head restraints. Fuel efficiency for the boxy hatchback is listed at 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Learn more about the 2011 Kia Soul.
2011 Toyota Corolla
Toyota's Corolla remains as reliable as ever, with standard features that include anti-lock brakes (front disc/rear drum), stability control, traction control, six airbags and brake assist. These features were enough to help the Corolla achieve an IIHS "Top Safety Pick" award. According to the EPA, the Corolla delivers an estimated 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
Learn more about the 2011 Toyota Corolla.
2011 Volkswagen Golf
In crash tests performed by the IIHS, 4-door models of the VW Golf did well enough to place it among the safest small cars for the year. As such, those interested in a slightly upscale compact car may find much to like about the sporty Golf. Standard features include anti-lock disc brakes, six airbags and stability control. Rear-seat side airbags are also optional on 4-door models. Opt for a diesel engine model, and you'll be rewarded with an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.
Learn more about the 2011 Volkswagen Golf.