Nissan Tsuru Vs. Sentra Crash Test Shows Why You Shouldn’t Sell 25-Year-Old New Cars

It may be cheap now, but think of the medical bills. Or, rather, the funeral costs. 

YouTube / IIHS

Here in the United States, the cheapest new car you can walk into a Nissan showroom and buy is the Versa—an $11,990 four-door. Down Mexico way, however, Nissan has until recently been selling brand-new versions of its Tsuru compact—a car that’s gone all but unchanged since it arrived on the scene back in 1992. Which means, in spite of being on sale a decade and a half after the arrival of the Third Millennium, it comes completely bereft of 21st Century safety equipment.

That means no anti-lock brakes, no airbags, et cetera. Just whatever amount of formed steel and plastic Nissan can afford while still turning a profit on a new car that costs $7,000 in Mexico.

Unsurprisingly, the safety advocacy group Latin NCAP has been campaigning fiercely to have the Tsuru pulled from the roadways. The organization gave the cheapo Nissan a zero-star crash test rating after putting it through the paces, and claims that the Tsuru has been involved in more than 4,000 fatal accidents in Mexico simply between 2007 and 2012.

Latin NCAP’s efforts, ultimately, weren’t in vain. The Tsuru will be yanked from the market by March of 2017, cast aside in part thanks to new Mexican vehicle safety standards that will finally render the George H.W. Bush Administration-era vehicle legally unsound for public roads.

But before it goes, the Latin American safety group teamed up with the United States’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to demonstrate just how unsafe the Tsuru really is—by firing it headlong into the aforementioned 2016 Nissan Versa at a combined impact speed of 80 miles per hour.

The result...well, let’s just say the Tsuru wound up looking like it insulted the Hulk’s momma.