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Study: Midsize cars in low-speed crashes costly to fix

  • Story Highlights
  • Low-speed crashes involving midsize sedans can be costly, study finds
  • Car accident at 6 mph could cost as much as $3,000 to fix, study finds
  • Of six cars tested, Mazda 6 scored highest with "acceptable" rating
  • Study: All cars tested fared better than 2007 predecessors
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(CNN) -- Drivers of new midsize cars will take a big financial hit if they get into traffic accidents even at speeds as low as 3 mph, according to a new study.

A crash-test study of midsize cars showed that even at low speeds of up to 6 mph, the cheapest someone would have to pay to get their car fixed is about $871.

In addition, some vehicles repairs cost close to $3,000 after extremely low speed crashes, according to the study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

"Consumers buy midsize cars for practical reasons. There's nothing practical about a $1,000-plus repair bill after a minor bump in commuter traffic," says Joe Nolan, senior vice president of the institute.

Nolan's organization found in its study that the 2009 Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6 and Nissan Maxima performed better than their 2007 predecessors. But none of the 17 midsize sedans tested earned the top rating of "good" in tests to determine how their bumpers would hold up in fender-benders.

Of the six most-popular vehicles tested, the Mazda 6 scored highest, receiving an "acceptable" rating. Of the remaining five, the Accord and Sonata were scored "marginal." The Maxima, Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion were graded "poor."

In the test, the cars are rammed into steel barriers designed to mimic the impact of a car bumper at speeds of 3 to 6 mph.

"Although midsize car bumpers still allow way too much damage in minor impacts, it's encouraging that some manufacturers are designing better ones," Nolan says.

While Honda, Hyundai and Mazda had made improvements in bumpers, others companies had not, the study found.

The most expensive car to fix in the study was a 2009 Pontiac G-6, which costs $2,932, the study found.

All About Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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