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Saab No Airbag or Chevy Aveo Airbag

Looking for advice. Our daughter is turning 16 in two years. We want to get her a 87 Convertible Saab 900 (solid steel- safe car) from a friend and get it really fixed up for her. However, my mother insists that we give her our car when it’s time… a 2006 Chevy Aveo hatchback because it has an airbag. So my question is this… Which is safer?

My gut says, the Saab, even without the airbag because it’s solid steel and right up there with Volvo as being one of the safest cars. However, my Mom insists that having the airbag makes up for this, despite the Aveo’s smallness and fiberglass body…

Of the two, the Aveo would be safer.

No car made in 1987 (especially a Saab convertible) is as safe as a 2006. A lot has happened in 30 years. Airbags are part of it, but ABS, traction control, handling, brakes, etc. have also improved dramatically.


I agree with twotone, a 23 year old vehicle is nowhere near as safe as a 4 year old one, even if the older one was bigger. Look at it this way, the Aveo will be so boring to drive, she might not want to use it at all. :stuck_out_tongue:
Watch this video and decide for yourself:

The Aveo does not have a fiberglass body. It’s steel.

ANY 2006 car sold in the US, even an Aveo, would be safer than a '87 Saab, especially a convertible.

I was going to suggest the Renault vs Volvo video, but I see bscar has beaten me to it.

You’re planning a bit far ahead, aren’t you? The kid won’t be 16 for another two years. By then you’ll be enamored of something other than an antique Saab.

Or is it YOU who wants the Saab? If that’s the case, go ahead, it will make a nice hobby car. Just don’t pretend it’s as safe as a modern vehicle.

The expression, “solid steel” presupposes that a very rigid body/chassis is beneficial to occupant protection.
In reality, this is not the case.

Modern cars (and nothing from 1987 qualifies as “modern”) have crumple zones which are designed to collapse at a controlled rate in order to absorb the impact forces that would be transmitted to passengers by a rigid body/chassis.

There is no avoiding the laws of physics, and an impact will result in huge inertial forces being imposed on a car. How that car deals with the inertial forces will determine how well the passengers will fare in an impact.

In other words, the lowly 2006 Aveo is far safer than that old Saab, and that is for many reasons in addition to the “airbag factor”.

On a side note, the Aveo is not a good car from the standpoints of either overall quality or performance–but it is still far safer than a 23 year old car of any make.