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Research Shows Cost of ‘Microcar’ Bumper Repair Anything But Small

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Low-cost, fuel-efficient “microcars” like the Honda Fit and Chevy Aveo are gaining popularity among consumers, but if those consumers end up in a collision, they may not be happy with their repair bills. Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that repairs to microcars after a low-speed crash can cost anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars – sometimes only slightly less than a car’s retail value.

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The problem, according to the IIHS, begins at the bumper. Many microcars’ bumpers aren’t tall enough to engage with another vehicle’s bumper in collisions, and bars beneath bumper covers often aren’t long enough to protect the corners of the body, leaving other body parts to absorb the energy of the crash.

The worst performer in the IIHS low-speed crash tests of seven microcars was the Kia Rio with $9,380 total damage in the four tests – two full-width and two corner impacts. The Rio sells for around $12,000. The best performer was the Smart ForTwo with $3,281 total damage in four tests.

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“Bumpers are doing their job if the only damage is to the bumper cover. Bumpers aren’t doing their job when headlights get knocked out or sheet metal crumples after a low-speed impact,” said IIHS Senior Vice President Joe Nolan.

Following are the cars tested and their average bumper repair costs:

Smart ForTwo – $899
Chevrolet Aveo – $1,155
Mini Cooper – $1,637
Toyota Yaris – $1,951
Honda Fit – $1,960
Hyundai Accent – $2,123
Kia Rio – $2,705

To view full test results from the IIHS, click HERE.

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