The pint-sized Fiat 500 has received the top award for safety from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, making it only the second vehicle to land the coveted Top Safety Pick honors from the industry trade group.
The award applies to vehicles produced since mid-summer, when Fiat made critical modifications to its microcar, according to the IIHS. The changes to the front seat were rushed to market after an earlier test found the original U.S. version of the Fiat 500 faring poorly in one of the institute’s tests.
The upgrade reflects the steady improvement in crash performance by even the market’s smallest products. A steadily increasing number of compacts and subcompacts are coming through crash tests as well as bigger market offerings – though to date, only the Fiat 500 and the Ford Fiesta have qualified among minicars for Top Safety Pick status, meaning they received good scores in all the various IIHS test categories.