Demolition Derby Worthy: What is the toughest modern non-SUV/jeep?
March 18, 2022 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Assuming no aftermarket body mods, what kind of modern sedan type car, if it exists, could withstand (by 'withstand' lets say, nothing more than minor cosmetic dents), some 10mph or less hits from an SUV?

My boring but reliable modern full size sedan has been rear ended twice by utility vehicles, both times I think they were going less than 10mph, my car sitting still, and both times needing $2k+ of repairs to fix. While I get that SUV's are huge and mass blah blah, it seems ridiculous that this is our acceptable car world. Are there any modern cars smaller than an SUV / truck / Jeep that could take these kinds of hits, and maybe would just be dinged up, or dented? Thanks car experts. : )
posted by bitterkitten to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, or Lincoln Town Car. There is a reason they were used for police, limo, and taxi services for so long.
posted by Seeking Direction at 10:26 AM on March 18, 2022 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Modern cars are built to crumble by design to absorb the force of the impact. So I'm afraid the answer would be no modern car.

You'd need to go back to something built before modern safety standards. (You don't want to do this, modern cars are ridiculously safer than even something built 10 years ago) Another alternative would be a car with more modular parts like a Jeep Wrangler. It should be cheaper to replace just the bumper instead of having to replace the deformed body panels that come with a traditional sedan.
posted by Eddie Mars at 10:26 AM on March 18, 2022 [18 favorites]

Best answer: Eddie Mars has it. Also, even relatively new (circa 2000) cars are not nearly as safe as new-new cars.
posted by adamrice at 10:48 AM on March 18, 2022

Best answer: 1960s Chrysler Imperials used to be banned from demolition derbies because they were so indestructible.

But no, there are no modern cars that can withstand 10mph hits from another car. You probably don't want to read about the history of car bumpers, but you could.
posted by box at 10:56 AM on March 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

You should've been reimbursed for all expenses you incurred, since you were not at fault.
posted by flimflam at 11:43 AM on March 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

My daughter's car was hit prior to Thanksgiving, and while it took forever to get fixed for various reasons, we didn't have to pay for any of it. The other person's insurance should have you covered (assuming you live in the US).
posted by Spike Glee at 11:55 AM on March 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yep, instead of many thousands more in medical costs for damages to you, plus the attendant pain and suffering, modern cars are designed to absorb the hit. You should be very glad about that. We take it for granted that modern cars are as safe (for their occupants, anyway) as they are. People used to die all the time in what would now be easily survivable collisions even when they were encased in 4000 pounds of heavy Detroit steel. Punching a cardboard box ruins the box. Punching a wooden box ruins your hand.
posted by spitbull at 1:39 PM on March 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

Saturns were known to survive light collisions as it has mainly plastic panels. However, I doubt it would survive SUV-sized love taps.
posted by kschang at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2022

both times I think they were going less than 10mph

When I bought my Toyota in 1991 one of the selling points was its bumpers which could absorb impacts up to 5mph, which was twice the then-US requirement.
posted by Rash at 8:36 PM on March 18, 2022

The energy from those 10mph suv hits needs to go somewhere. Would you prefer it to crumple the body of your vehicle, or have the force sent to your body via acceleration/deceleration and contact with various parts of the interior? Yeah, a crown Vic can take a beating but it is not as safe for occupants in a crash as almost any new car today.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 6:28 AM on March 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

1959 Chevy Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevy Malibu.

There are a lot of famous crash tests pitting older heavier and larger cars against modern smaller cars, but this is one of the most well known, as it was done for the 50th anniversary of Consumer Reports. Don't ever let any boomer tell you they don't make 'em like they used to like that's a bad thing.

Spoiler: Dummy in the '59 Chevy likely dies. Dummy in the '09 Malibu (not a particularly safe modern car, even) likely walks away, from a high speed partial frontal head on overlap.
posted by spitbull at 12:57 PM on March 19, 2022

The 1996 Ford Thunderbird. That thing had a tough bumper, whatever its other faults.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 3:22 PM on March 19, 2022

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