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How safe is your Hatchback?

dzuldzul Posts: 9
edited March 2014 in Geo
I am wondering if anyone has ever had another
vehicle rear-end your Hatchback. If so, I am
curious as to how much damage was done and whether
or not it was easy to fix or costly.

I'd like to get a hatchback, but I'm afraid that
if I ever get rear-ended at a traffic light that I
will have to get a whole new hatch.

ANY input will help me. Thank you.


  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    My poor little 91 Honda CRX has been rear-ended 4 times !!! I'm afraid it is such a low car and all the glass in the back gives it a kinda "see-through" quality, so people don't see it.

    You would not believe how little damage there is though. I have never bothered to fix it, as the only visible damage is some minor denting on the valence and one inch of overlap between the edge of the bumper "cladding" and the rear fender (quarter-panel).

    Call me lucky....

  • alextalext Posts: 63
    My girlfriend has a 99 Chevy Metro, one of the smallest hatchbacks around, and she got rear-ended by a honda accord doing roughly 30-35 mph. The damage was only to the plstic bumper, and was so minor all you could see was a few scratches! Well, the offending motorist's insurance was picking up the bill, so we had it fixed by a body shop anyway, which came out to $700 including labor to replace the bumper and the fiberglass underneath it.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I was rear-ended in a 1989 VW Golf and came out much better than the Volvo that hit me. Me: a couple of scratches and a small dent. The Volvo:
    creased hood, cracked grill and one unhappy driver!

  • dzuldzul Posts: 9

    How fast was the Volvo going when it hit you?

    I always thought Hatchbacks would get their entire backside destroyed if they were rear-ended by a larger car. I've been mistaken.


    The bumper on that Metro must be incredibly strong. For that car to survive a crash at that speed gives me confidence in getting a Hatchback!
    The bumper did its job. Thanks.

  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Hmmm dzul, I was just slowing for a stoplight. It was probably at about 25mph. We were all (me, the other driver, and the Capitol policeman) were stunned at the amount of damage the Volvo sustained.

  • alextalext Posts: 63
    I think the hatchback's strength is in distribution of energy...I mean, I'm no physicist, but to me it seems that a larger surface such as a hatch is more structurally rigid than a trunk. Bumpers on hatchbacks tend to be bigger and thus absorb more force. Also, when a car hits you from the back it tends to go downward, that is the nose of the car hitting you goes into the bumper and down, so the car itself is not taking much force. I've seen it happen many times. Of course, if you're hit by something like a full-size pickup or a SUV, then it may be another story.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    ALEXT: If your girlfriend's Metro got hit by a 3,000lb Accord at 30-35 mph. your girlfriend would be seriously hurt and you would have a lot more damage than just "bumper" damage. Your bumper is called a "5mph bumper" because anything over that means the bumper will sustain damage.
    30-35mph are speeds at which you have fatalities and mangled cars. She probably got hit at 10 or 15mph at the very most. It sounds and feels a lot faster when someone even hits you at 5 mph!!
    Accidents at slower speeds than 30mph are enough to bend your car's frame. Many bodyshops cannot diagnose bent frames or don't want to tell you because it's a pain straightening out frames and a lot of times the cars are totalled with a bent frame. You may not have any problems with a bent frame for 1 or 2 years but eventually it gets worse, and you 'll feel it when the car starts vibrating or doing funny things. Some times, the differential might go because of misallignment with the axle, etc. etc.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Well I may not have been in the accident, but I believe a police report and the eye witness account of the woman who hit her saying she was doing about 30 mph (If you ran into someone would you lie and say you were going faster than you really were?). My girlfriend did get an injury to her lower back, for which she was on vicodin and physical therapy (and we're in the process of a lawsuit with the insurance company to compensate for this), but she's pretty much recovered now. My point was that the little car can take a beating without much damage and still offers very good protection to it's occupants. I agree that a rear-end crash at 30+ mph could result it serious injury, but my girlfriend avoided such in her metro.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Now you 're forcing me to educate you.
    I was a police officer for 3 1/2 yrs. I 've seen more accidents than I 'd like and I 'm sure if that little Metro was standing still and got hit by an Accord at 30+ mph, it would 've been very close to being totalled and the hatch door would 've been very close to the back seat! Most people don't know how fast they were going before hitting someone, especially when braking. Before most accidents occur on the road, the vehicle that hits the other almost always applies the brakes for a couple of seconds unless you 're in a parking lot and back up into somebody. You will be surprised how much you can deccelarate in 1 or 2 seconds!
    I 've seen police officers hospitalized with broken ribs, head injuries, dislocated disks etc. etc. from accidents at slower speeds than 30mph (depending how and where they got hit). And they drive 3,800lb+ Fords and Chevys. I don't think I have ever seen people walk away from 30mph collisions.
    At 30mph the Accord would have gone over the bumper or under the Metro's bumper. Most bumpers are designed to drop down around 7-10mph so there should 've been trunk/body damage or under carriage/exhaust and gas tank damage. At 30mph the Metro should be sitting right on the Accord's hood (or on the engine because the hoods pop up sometimes or get bent and recede back). This is because usually the front bumper of the car that hits you from behind drops first in the collision. If the accord when over, then the Metro's hatch door would very much bend and its window shattered.
    That woman was just guessing. Trust me when I tell you she was not doing 30 when she hit the Metro.. and you only replaced the bumper.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Fine, believe what you wish. I still think the metro has a very safe rear quarter, regardless of any circumstantial testimonies. If your motivation is to discredit me, than there's no need to waste your time because I really don't care. Those who know don't respond to critics.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Noone is trying to discredit anyone and I do believe the Metro is a relatively safe car for its size.
    I 'm just saying that maybe the lady that hit your girlfriend's car was off by a few miles in her estimation.. and by my knowledge of collisions.
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • zca3zca3 Posts: 2
    enjoyed reading the discussion regarding a metro that was rear-ended

    about 6 months ago my 96 metro hatchback was rear ended by a jeep cherokee at 25 mph (verified by the driver and tests conducted on the skid marks)

    my back was slightly sore for three days and then was fine

    2500 damage to the jeep (grille, hood, all front lights, bumper, etc.)

    1200 damage to my metro (new bumper, bumper cover, realign the frame which was slightly bent)

    was also in another accident in the metro, hit someone who ran a stop sign at about 10-15 mph (again verified) and no injuries, only needed bumper cover

    i'm impressed with this small, almost maintenance free gas sipping car
  • wgintzwgintz Posts: 22
    Had my Nissan NX2000 crunched like an accordian.
    Traffic came to a sudden stop on the freeway and some idiot in a Dodge Intrepid was not paying attention. He smashed into the Olds Cutlass behind me at approx 50 mph, causing a "domino" effect into my car and I hit the car in front of me. Basically my hatch was pushed into the backseat, the two rear quarters crinkled and seemed to absorb most of the energy from the hit. My muffler stuck out about 1 foot after the hit! I was not wearing my seatbelt and the airbag saved my life.
    The accident seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. To answer dzul's question I'd say hatchbacks are fairly safe, but IMO the bigger the car the safer.

    Also - ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT. I got lucky once, I'm never going to test fate again.
  • only1harryonly1harry NYPosts: 1,140
    Your accident is the worst kind. If there weren't anyone in front of you the damage would 've been a lot less, but at that speed your frame would have been bent and very few body shops can bend your frame back exactly to its original specs.
    Unfortunately most of the time the car is never the same again after collisions such as these and if the insurance doesn't total the car we almost always wish they would...
    '99 Integra GSR
    '06 Civic LX coupe
    '11 BMW 335i coupe xDrive
    '13 Honda Accord sedan (wife's car)
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Amen, wgintz! I became a believer in seat belts in 1978 when I broke the windshield of a friend's car with my head. I was the front seat passenger.

    I never start my car until everyone is belted. No belt? No go.

  • kmagkmag Posts: 98
    i was rear-ended twice in my 91 hyundia excel. the first one, two months after i bought it, just damaged the bumper. the second one, about two years later, happened at the same place on the other side of the road! hit from behind by a ford pickup, pushed in the bumper, rear panel, and hatch, and shattered hatch glass. car was drivable but totalled by the insurance company since the frame would have had to be straightend. i took their check to the bank, paid the loan off, and walked out with $19.
  • I wasn't so much rear-ended as almost sodomized by a pickup with a big snowplow pump in front. Punched sort of a crater just off the rear driver-side corner but no penetration; no explosions either. The frame got bent and the ride was never true again.
  • (don't know if anyone still checks this but...)

    My girlfriend's '93 Golf got rear ended on the NJ Turnpike. Traffic was moving at around 65 MPH when all of a sudden it came to a screeching halt. She stopped in time, but the guy behind her couldn't so he swerved around and the huge van behind him plowed into the back of our car. Needless to say the car was left undrivable and for some reason my seat ripped completely out of the floor and I fell into the back seat. Amazingly, no one was hurt at all!!!

    oh yeah... and she was driving me to an aquarium to surprise me for my birthday. :(
  • My wife was driving her Mitsubishi Mirage HB and she was rear-ended by MYSELF (this is not a joke) with my Eagle Talon TSi. The Mirage had absolutely NOTHING, but my Talon's damage was severe...$2,500!
  • A long time ago, in a land not-so-far away (Indiana), the ex-girlfriend backed her Scirocco into a lightpole while trying to do doughnuts in reverse. She thought it would be easier to break traction in reverse, being a front-wheel-drive car. She may have had a point, but the point was she traded the car to me for my Tempo. That wasn't too bad. Having a Scirocco with a Hefty bag over the rear window and a bumper that smirked was fun. Now I am trying to figure whether or not to repair my rear-ended Dynasty, I should leave it as a testament to those who might tailgate me.
  • I've really enjoyed reading everyone's comments on hatch back safety. I'm curious - has anyone been rear-ended and had passengers in the back seat? My concern is that the hatch makes back seat passengers (particularly infants and small children) more vulnerable in a rear end collision than if there were a trunk there. Does anyone have any input? I am considering a 2000 VW Golf GLS or a Honda Civic EX, and am weighing the many factors in my purchase decision. Safety is very important to me. Thanks!
  • imho, I would say that the HB's you are considering are less safe in a serious rear end collision than the sedan versions because they are shorter which means less crush space and could cause either passenger compartment intrusions or a "sharper" impact. If you still want one of these cars I would think the golf is safer as it is heavier and taller. I personally find it quite annoying that car manufacturers chop of the trunks of the sedans to make a hatch back instead of keeping the cars original length which would give a bigger cargo area and more crush space.
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    If you keep the overall length of the car the same and make it a hatch, you end up with a station wagon. BTW, VW does sell a Golf station wagon in Europe. I don't like the looks of it at all, but I've owned two Golfs so far and am getting ready to buy a third, so....I am quite biased.

    co-host for Smart Shopper
  • i was rear-ended on the freeway in my eclipse hatchback. only 28k on the odo. the lady who hit me (olds or buick, can't remember, but big and heavy nonetheless) was going about 15 miles an hour. i was not moving. she hit the left side of my car and totalled it. i struck the car in front of me too. the hatch wouldn't open, the left AND right rear quarter panels had dents, backseat moved up about 1/2 inch, inside the trunk was a mess, and bent my frame. i sustained minor injuries to my neck and lower back. i think passengers in my backseat would be seriously injured because there are basically no head restraints. anyway i collected the insurance and got a new integra. hehe.
  • My friend was rear ended by a mercury Sable going around 40km/h. I figured his Excel would be totalled after I saw a Civic get ruined from the same thing. His Excel was a little bashed up but he Sable's front end was all over the place. The Excel cost a lot to repair but was bak on the road in a week the Sable had to have serious work done on it and was not running for almost 2 weeks. I know this because it was another buddy of mine in the Sable. Forget this talk of cheap tin can hatchbacks. They can take a beating!
  • I use to own a 93 civic si hatchback. It was rearended by a tractor trailer. I was stopped, and the trailer was going 25 mph. Fortunately, the Civic was a stick and my foot was off the brake. That saved my life. I shot clear across the intersection. I was fine. My car needed a new rear bumper, hatch, inside hatch molding, and wiper. My point is the Metro could have been hit going that fast; especially if it was a stick with her foot off the brake (in neutral)
  • My 1990 (used)Escort LX is dying. :( But with 134,000 (approx. 40,000 on the rebuilt 1.9L installed after purchase) I'm happy. I've never had a serious scare. Just a bump in McD's drive thru. The damage: frayed nerves for me and my friend.
    I was never a HB fan until the day my locks froze. It was 5 min after I left the car wash. I ran in the bank for two min and when I came out both sides were froze solid. After deciding that I would probably break the key if I tried any harder, I remembered the HB. Low and behold the lock opened, I climbed in and drove away. :))))))
  • 86tercel86tercel Posts: 1
    i have an 86 tercel hb and was driving to work (late) one winter morning. about an hour after on a secondary highway, another kid going the other direction in an identical car went onto the wrong side of the road and died in a collision with a small ford truck. truck had almost no damage, but the car was totalled. i saw the pictures on the news and trust me, i want to get rid of my car asap (of course driving on the wrong side of the road doesn't help).

    in another accident, some kids were crammed into a civic hb and weren't paying attention to the road when they suddenly swerved to avoid a stopping car in front of them. they hit another car & went into the ditch, killing all of them (the car was squished & flattened).

    a lady was driving on a winter mountain road in a small tercel sedan and got rear ended. she died.

    i love the reliability of my car but i would definitely get a slightly larger car for safety's sake. a prelude or celica would be much better.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    I rear ended a hatchback in my hatchback. I hit a 80's supra with my '94 Escort GT at about 50 mph. both cars were a write off, but the car took the damage perfectly. The engine wasn't touched. the rad was gone, the battery was knocked out of place, the oil pan was knocked out of place. The airbag went off but the seatbelt took most of the force anyway.
    Also, I remember an artical in the newspaper about a '94 LX going off a bridge and dropping 40 feet onto its nose. The hood was folded almost in half, and the driver escaped with only minor bruises.
    Not bad for little cars. I don't trust my new escort half as much.

    86tercel: The small size and low weight will obviously make these cars less safe in accidents against large cars and trucks, but you stand a better chance in an accident with 2 small cars then 2 large cars. Also, these cars have come a long way since the '80's
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I'm glad to know you and the other driver were able to walk away, freddy_k!

This discussion has been closed.