They don't make 'em like they used to anymore, thank god. Check out this video by the European New Car Assessment Programme, a vehicle safety assessment program backed by the EU, that pits two automobiles from two decades apart against each other: A 1997 Rover 100 versus a 2015 Honda Jazz.
In this front collision test, the Rover's steering console collapses into the cabin of the car, sending the airbag past the dummy driver's head, inflated but totally useless. At best, maybe the backseat passengers get some padding from its jettisoned trip to the trunk.
The Euro NCAP gave this car a one star for driver safety, failing it in nearly every area of occupant protection, "related to excessive intrusion and instability of the passenger compartment." It scored above average on pedestrian protection, however, so if you're going to get hit by a car from 20 years ago it might as well be this one.
Compared to the Jazz, it's a mess. The newer car—known as the Honda Fit in the Americas—scores much higher on all counts. In the video, you can see the crumple zone in action as the front hood squishes to take the brunt of the force, protecting the people inside. Crumple zones were invented in the 50s, but are increasingly a standard safety feature on cars made today. You want your car to be squishable.
from Cars Are Crashing A Lot Better Than They Did 20 Years Ago