Upshot: The New Beetle from Volkswagen got a “poor” rating on side-impact tests. This means the accident they simulate (31 mph side impact from a pickup truck) would result in serious, life-threatening injury.
My Take: I kind of figured as much when I bought the car. It’s a compact, after all. There’s little enough crumple-zone in a front or rear collision. From the side, though? If my car door were any closer to me, I’d be sitting outside the car. My solution, therefore, is to spend as little time as possible in front of cross-traffic — especially when running stop signs, red-lights, or cutting across the freeway. In these situations I just go as fast as possible, in the hope that if there’s a collision, it’s ME hitting THEM.