Thin walled tubes are used as energy absorbing elements in automobile applications. The circular tube proves to be a popular energy absorber because it provides a reasonably constant operating force which is the prime characteristics of the energy absorber. Square and rectangular tubes are widely used in automobile structures as these cross sections are suitable for welding with other components in the structure and hence highly preferred. Advanced high strength steels can be utilised to absorb crash energy and minimise intrusion in the occupant zone. In this work circular, square and rectangular tubes made up of dual phase steel are tested in static and dynamic conditions. All the tubes are subjected to same amount of input impact energy but the specific energy absorption is higher in circular steel tubes. The results are compared with those for annealed tubes of same cross section. The effect of impact velocity is also studied by keeping the impact mass constant and varying the drop height. The experimental results are compared with the theoretical results and good agreement is found. © 2009 The Authors.