he lowest-priced new car sold in the United States, the foreign-built Yugo GV subcompact, did poorly in new federal crash tests, the government reported yesterday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which released the first results of the tests for 1986 cars, said the two-door hatchback that sells for about $4,000 without options, ran up the worst scores of the four cars tested.
The automobiles were crashed into a fixed barrier at 35 mph, a speed 5 mph faster than prescribed for compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards. The tests are designed to indicate how much protection the cars will provide to seat-belted motorists involved in an accident.
The Yugo, which weighs 2,320 pounds and is manufactured in Yugoslavia, scored 1,415 in the head-injury category for the driver and 1,318 for the front-seat passenger. In comparison, the larger Buick Century two-door coupe and four-door sedan scored 647 and 699 in the head-injury criterion for the driver as well as 928 and 672 for the passenger. The two-door Mazda 323 LX came in at 802 and 894.
The lower the score, the less likely the drivers and front-seated passengers would be seriously injured or killed in a frontal crash.