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'13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country
Notice how well the passenger compartment stays intact.
Yet the A-Class does better in the Euro NCAP front impact testing than does the comparatively "very long hooded" Saab 9-3: 69% vs 50% (BTW, the Saab 900 was even worse).
Here's the reference URL's, as well as the URL's for a some Honda's & Toyota's (all larger than the A) that are all incapable of using the physics advantage that they should have, to actually provide better overall safety:
Yes, that last one's actually a Toyota Camry.
Insofar as safety engineering history, various manufacturers make various claims, but Béla Barényi (of Mercedes) patented the occupant safety cell in 1951. The crumple zone premiered in 1953 with the Mercedes-Benz 180, and the world's first production vehicle with rigid passenger cage and integrated crumple zone are the 1959 Mercedes 220's. By 1970, less than 10% of the world's new cars had rigid safety cages integrated with crumple zones. (source: http://www.whnet.com/4x4/crashes.html)-hh
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