Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt Win Top Safety Ratings

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Not only are the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt good for the environment, they are also good for drivers -- both cars won the highest safety ratings in crash tests.

According to a report from Automotive News, the all-electric Leaf and the gas/electric Volt both received "good" ratings -- the highest of four rankings -- in all four tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"What explains the Volt's and the Leaf's performance is the crash engineering that went into their development," Institute spokesman Russ Rader said.

That these cars are electric and have heavy battery packs helped their performance in the crash tests.

"When they collide with something bigger and heavier like a truck or SUV, they have an advantage over other small cars," Rader said.

Automotive News writes:

The vehicles were engineered with a strong "crumple zone" between the bumper and windshield to maximize protection during a front collision. They also feature strong pillars between the front and rear doors to offer enhanced protection in the event of side crashes, he said.

About 80 of 140 vehicles tested received the Institute's "top safety pick." Rader attributes this to the fact that "manufacturers have been stepping up to meet" tougher crash protection rules.

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