The IIHS has been crashing cars again. We all know the MINI scores well front and rear, but so not hot for side impact.

>Mini Cooper results: This minicar was redesigned for the 2007 model year, and it earned a good rating for frontal crash protection in a previous test. New side and rear tests were conducted to assess further design changes made for the most recent models. This minicar earns a good rating for rear protection and an acceptable rating for side protection. Measures recorded on the driver dummy indicate that a fractured pelvis would be possible in a side crash of the same severity, but there’s low risk that other significant injuries would occur to the driver. For the rear passenger, rib fractures and/or internal organ injuries would be possible. ESC is newly standard for the 2009 model year.

The IIHS is also saying that Electronic Stability Control (ESC) should be standard on all cars.

>ESC should be standard: Among the small cars in this round of tests, only the Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Vibe have standard ESC. It isn’t available at all on the PT Cruiser and optional on the rest, including the Vibe’s twin Toyota Matrix. ESC helps reduce rollovers, especially fatal single-vehicle ones. When ESC senses a vehicle is becoming unstable, it automatically engages to help a driver regain control and put the vehicle back in the intended travel direction. ESC lowers fatal rollover crash risk by as much as 70 percent. “Cars aren’t involved in rollovers as often as SUVs and pickups, but when they do roll the consequences can be deadly,” Nolan notes. “The smallest cars that most need this crash avoidance feature often don’t have it.”

Worth reading if you have the time. Especially if you want to laugh at the PT Cruiser. (The MotoringFile police have reprimanded DB for trying sarcasm on a Friday)

>The Chrysler PT Cruiser is the only small car in the recent test series to earn poor marks in both side and rear evaluations.

[ IIHS News Release, 12/17/08 ]