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The C-Class outperforms the "benchmark" for safety, the Volvo lineup. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's review of the Benz C-class gives it a perfect score, something the Volvo's and BMW's don't get.

Some excerpts:

OVERALL EVALUATION: GOOD The driver space was maintained very well in the frontal offset crash test, and measures indicate that significant injury was unlikely. Advanced front airbag and safety belt systems, side airbags with head protection, automatically adjusting head restraints, a stability control system, and daytime running lights are pluses.

STRUCTURE/SAFETY CAGE: GOOD There was minimal intrusion into the driver footwell area and no rearward movement of the instrument panel.

RESTRAINTS/DUMMY KINEMATICS: GOOD Dummy movement was well controlled. During rebound, the dummy's head contacted the B-pillar.

INJURY MEASURES: GOOD Measures taken from the head, neck, chest, and both legs indicate low risk of injury to these body regions. Head acceleration from the B-pillar contact was low.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that "bigger is safer"!

Aaron
 

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What's really telling is when you put the best reviewed (the C-class) up against the worst (Audi A-series) in a side-by-side comparison. The photos of the damage are drastically different, with the Audi being crumpled all the way back into the passenger compartment, and the Benz looks like it could take a whole lot more pain while protecting its owner!

Oh, and to correct something I said earlier, there are some Volvo's that do get all "good" marks, but the Benz is still IIHS' choice for safest ride.

Aaron
 
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