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Chrysler 200, Ford Fiesta among safest rental cars

Car buyers likely consider vehicle safety as part of the purchase process. But is the same consideration as important for those renting cars?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the auto industry standard for determining vehicle safety, whether it’s for buyers or renters. And among cars readily available in major rental agencies, USA Today, via IIHS rankings, reports there are varying degrees of safety.

The newspaper reported, 95 percent of 167 different vehicles in rental fleets are rated “good” in head-on collisions, the most frequent type of fatal crash. However, a half dozen 2011 vehicles and one 2010 vehicle had “poor” side-impact crash ratings: Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Volkswagen’s New Beetle, two-door Jeep Wrangler, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado with a crew cab, and 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

In rear-crash ratings, two 2011 vehicles — Cadillac STS and Lexus HS hybrid manufactured before 2010 — and three 2010 vehicles — Chrysler PT Cruiser, Infiniti M35, and Hummer H3 — got slapped with poor ratings.

The 2011 cars that earned top overall safety ratings include: Ford Fiesta, Honda Civic, the Mitsubishi Lancer, and the Subaru Impreza among the smaller cars; Ford Fusion, the Chrysler 200 and the Volkswagen Jetta for the midsize vehicles; and Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, and Buick Regal.

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