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Is it possible to design a compact car that's safer than a luxury salon?
It depends! It would be possible to produce a compact car that's even safer than the recent S-class, or any other good 5-meter executive salon! However, the thing would most certainly be too expensive for this sort of car. People wouldn't spend that much money on such a thing.
Beyond the fact that more safety details can be designed and included at the price of a luxury vehicle, its larger size - and thus longer crash zones - is an additional factor which is helpful for making it safer than a smaller vehicle.
Are there advantages of smaller cars regarding safety?
Yes, theoretically! Smaller cars are lighter and a lower mass does mean lower impact energy at the same speed. That could have a positive effect when hitting a rigid obstacle or another vehicle that moves in the same direction or stands still. But there's a relation to how much energy is absorbed by the crash zones and the airbags.
Eventually it depends on many factors what car is safer, even in situations like these. In case of a front to front collision, on the other hand, it's better to be the heavier one. Practically, or at 95% of the crashes in the reality, a luxury salon is safer than a small or compact car.
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