Video: How safe is an original Smart car?
With European crash test organisation Euro NCAP regularly toughening up its crash ratings, it's easy to think that old cars are hideously unsafe. But thanks to the huge progress made in the safety stakes over the past few decades, even older cars can withstand big impacts, with less damage than you might think.
To show just how strong modern vehicles are, Fifth Gear has put the original Smart car – all 2.5m of it – up against 20 tonnes of concrete. Worse than this, the show decided to fire the car into the barrier at 70mph – much faster than the speed at which Euro NCAP tests vehicles.
And the result? You'd expect plenty of damage to the front of the car, but the stubby bonnet managed to shrug off most of the forces involved through its strong safety shell. It doesn't look like there's much space left in the driver's seat for the person behind the wheel to survive the impact, but it's a pretty impressive performance for such a small vehicle – especially when you consider this Smart was built way back in 1999.
Watch the video above for yourself to see how the Smart fares.