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Nissan Leaf Earns Top NHTSA Safety Rating

The all-electric 2012 Nissan Leaf has earned the highest possible five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Leaf is rated four out of five stars in NHTSA’s front crash tests, five stars in side crash tests and four stars in rollover tests.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf also earned the exact same ratings in all of NHTSA’s crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has only tested the 2011 Leaf so far, and names it a 2011 Top Safety Pick for earning the top score of “Good” in front, rear, side and roof strength tests, as well as having electronic stability control standard.

“The Nissan LEAF is the first all-electric vehicle to achieve 5-star overall for safety,” says Brian Carolin, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Nissan North America, Inc., in a statement. “Not only is the LEAF the most innovative car on the planet, it is also one of the safest.”

The Nissan Leaf’s main competitor, the Chevrolet Volt, is also rated five stars overall by NHTSA. The Volt earns four stars in front crash tests, five stars in side tests and five stars in rollover tests. The Volt’s scores apply to both 2012 and 2011 models. The 2011 Volt is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick, which means it earned top scores in all four crash tests and comes standard with electronic stability control.

NHTSA started using more stringent safety tests in its five-star ratings beginning with 2011 models. NHTSA’s new tests include a side-impact pole crash test, “mimicking a car skidding into a light post or tree,” CNNMoney reports.

The Nissan Leaf’s standard safety features include dual front airbags, dual front seat side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side-curtain airbags and vehicle dynamic control with traction control.

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